App to help autistic children communicate
A new app has been designed to meet the needs of autistic children.
AutisMate is an iPad app which aims to support autistic children and help promote communication, functional skills and social skills.
The app was designed by Jonathan Izak who’s little brother and cousin are both on the autistic spectrum and experience difficulty in communication and every day obstacles.
Jonathon worked in conjunction with many speech pathologists, therapists, teachers and parents who live and work with autistic children to design AutisMate.
Using video, voice recordings and over 12,000 symbols, the app draws on the iPad’s GPS to present the user with scenarios relevant to where they are. For example, the app may show a scene of a kitchen with various symbols over the fridge, sink and cupboard. Clicking on a symbol at the sink may bring up a video of how to wash your hands properly. Clicking on a symbol on the fridge could show various foods with recordings of how to ask for them.
The app has over 12,000 included symbols, custom voice recordings, and synthesized voices to allow the user to easily customise the app. Multiple voice recordings can be used for the same item/button to promote generalisation and expand the user’s vocabulary.
Founder, Jonathan said he felt ‘disheartened’ when he saw the other apps and devices available to help with autism before launching the app. He said, “The interface designs were often too complex and not intuitive enough for autistic children, who tend to struggle with generalising. The devices consisted of outdated hardware that sold for astronomical prices, even though they lacked the simplicity, functionality, and user friendly designs of the many tablet computers available today. The apps were difficult to use and surprisingly limiting. There was nothing that provided the required flexibility to help children with such a broad spectrum of needs… Until now.”
AutisMate is currently available in US for $49.99.