There’s a new iPad app in the Apple AppStore, made to help children with autism communicate and interact with the world around them by allowing parents and therapists to create interactive representations, or scenes, of child’s environment.
Jonathan Izak, creator of the AutisMate app, made the application for his 10-year-old brother Oriel, who is on the autism spectrum and has struggled with other communication apps.
Using the new application, parents and/or therapists can create interactive scenes of their own environment using pictures, video and voice recordings. In addition, AutisMate also leverages GPS to further reduce the navigation abilities required to use the app.
According to Joan Green, M.A. CCC-SLP and author of The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education, this application is “different from all of the rest” and can be a “game changer for many individuals with complex communication needs.”
Amy Lackey, a speech pathologist and educational coordinator of the Manhattan Children’s Center, also likes Izak’s work, saying that the scene-based approach of AutisMate provides “object-picture association that many students form around common objects within their homes, schools, and other familiar settings.”
Luckily we don’t need it and can only hope you won’t be needing it as well. At $49.99, it’s an expensive app, but is much more affordable than traditional alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) dedicated devices which can cost as much as $15,000.