EASe stands for Electronic Auditory Stimulation effect, and is a tool to help autistic children get accustomed to sudden, loud sounds. EASe was developed with the help of 25 professional therapists, as beta testers, providing feedback and guidance.
The interface is clean and easy to use and includes some features that were specifically requested by the therapist testers. The ease of use is helpful because the program is designed to allow the person listening to the audio therapy to control certain aspects of the playback. The user can skip a given track and can adjust the master volume, but the other functions require a pass code to modify which keeps the control in the therapists’ or parents’ hands.
How does it work?
EASe is an audio playback interface that creates random bursts of increased volume. I need to mention that it is strongly recommended the person listening should use some descent headphones. The background noise of the outside world needs to be shut out as much as possible, and the music needs to be rendered with a high degree of clarity. Also, the music is preset with the app, but there are extra modules that can be purchased. Tier 1, EASe Light, provides one song as a kind of taste test for the app, and Tier 2, EASe Personal, comes with 60 minutes of music. Tier 3 EASE Pro is for therapists or more tech savvy parents and comes with additional music modules and the report screen to show stats, which can be copied to Excel or e-mailed to the therapist.
As for operating the program, the therapist or parent can set how long the burst plays, how much louder than the rest of the track it will be and how quickly the volume ramps up. There are additional controls that give the beginner parents access to four preset levels which help step the user up from small changes to more aggressive changes in volume.
Other settings include a toggle for Stereo to Mono and a button to mute either the left or right ear. In the Advanced Settings, the duration of the session can be set; if you don’t have a lot of time, you can plug in for a quick ten minute session or settle in at home for a half hour.
For the more seasoned user, there is a grid at the top of the control screen where you can tap and drag to select the dB increase and the frequency response of the volume burst. For more fine control, there are “knobs” for Gap, Burst and Attack to set the audio parameters. The program even has a setting that allows a report of activity to be generated for review by the therapist.
EASe also has a function that allows you to save your presets so that a desired level can be kept ready for several sessions. Given the nature of the application, it will likely require a week or two at a given level before the user is ready to advance.
Is it contagious?
I’m not sure contagious is a valid descriptor for this particular application, but it certainly ranks up there on the practicality meter. EASe is a very useful, handy and entertaining tool for helping children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome. The team at Audioforge has already received some very positive feedback from their beta test crew. It was noted that the music in the therapy module is enjoyable enough that it was more of a concern that the music didn’t last long enough for the kid’s liking. Hats off to Audioforge for an app that will help improve the quality of life for its users!