Today is Autism Awareness Day and if you know or love someone who has Autism, you are asked to light it up blue today. In honor of Autism Awareness Day I would love to share with you 10 effective iPad or iPod apps which I have observed to be beneficial and loved by students with Autism in my classroom.
1. Puppet Pals– This app is a digital puppet theater where the user can create their own puppet or use built in puppets. The students who I have taught in the past have enjoyed being able to record their stories as a puppet show. They love the anonymity of recording their voice while no one is looking. Also, once they have created their puppet show, they enjoy being able to share what they have created! I highly recommend purchasing the Director’s Pass so that you can build custom puppets and backgrounds.
2. Sonic Pics– I use this app to help my students with Autism to record their summaries of the books they have read. They take pictures of the illustrations in the book, then they record their retelling. Their summaries are much more rich in content than if I ask them to retell directly to me.
3. The Monster at the End of This Book– This book is hilarious and allows you to interact with the story. My students go back to this book on an almost daily basis.
4. SimpleMind– This app is a great tool for my students with Autism to help develop their writing ideas. Writing is the most difficult part of the day for my students. Allowing them to develop their ideas with a mind map gives them the confidence that they share their ideas in the written word.
5. DoodleBuddy– I am constantly searching for 100% engagement. Before iPods I would use whiteboards for instant feedback from my students. Now I use DoodleBuddy. This is a great way to know if students are following your lessons and allows them a way to share with you whether or not they are understanding a concept. This is also a great app to allow students time to relax. They love being able to draw, add their own backgrounds, and utilize the stamps.
6. Draw With Stars– This is a great sensory app. The user can draw with the stars and quickly erase them.
7. Songify– Turn anything you say into a song! I use this app to make phonics lessons more engaging.This is an app many of my students with Autism return to during their free time. They get a kick out of hearing their words turned into a song.
8. VidRhythm– This app guides the user to create a music video starring YOU! This app guides you to make various sounds of instruments and puts your sounds together to create a music video.
9. Scribble Press– This is an iPad app only. This is a drawing app that also allows you to create and illustrate your own books!
10. Hop on Pop– This is an interactive Dr. Seuss book. My students love all of the Dr. Seuss books created by OceanHouse Media!
And for the grand finally…
I highly recommend creating your own social stories in Power Point or Keynote and turning them into iBooks. This is an easy process which I have blogged about in the past. Please read my blog titled, “Best Uses for iBooks: Turn Your Power Point or Keynote into an iBook” for detailed directions about this easy process! Of course, you can purchase apps that will do this for you but in my research I have found that they are extremely expensive apps!
Please share this blog with any parents or teachers who may be interested in using iPods or iPads to help their child with Autism be more successful in school.