Parents often behind iPad and iPhone apps for children with autism

Parents of children with autism often give rave reviews to iPad, iPod and iPhone applications designed to support their kids’ special needs and help them communicate. Some of those applications, or apps, were developed by parents of children with autism or other special needs. Blogger Shannon Des Roches Rosa talked to some of those parents about the inspiration behind their work.

My son Leo the iPad enthusiast has benefitted greatly from apps developed for kids with special needs — they provide novel ways for him to communicate, play independently, and entertain himself.

I am constantly impressed by how intuitively designed these apps are, how perceptive of Leo’s needs, how they bring out his talents and encourage his learning through innovative design and interfaces.

As a former software producer, I wanted to know more about the stories behind the apps, so I contacted Lorraine Akemann of app developer hub MomsWithApps. Lorraine told me that many of Leo’s favorite apps were created by parents who wanted an app to properly support their own child’s special needs.

Several of the MomsWithApps developers agreed to allow me to share their stories here — so while this is a longer post, I hope you agree that their stories are inspiring, and worth your eyeball time.

Martin Brooks from MiasApps.com, developer of the iComm and iSpy Phonics apps.

I named my business after my daughter Mia, who has been my inspiration.

via The Personal Stories Behind Awesome Apps for Kids With Special Needs | BlogHer.


iPads used to help Florida preschool children with autism

A Ft. Lauderdale preschool program for children with autism has raised enough money to buy an iPad for each of its 18 classrooms.

As United Press International reports, the tablets are loaded with applications such as Proloquo2Go, a communication app that allows users to select phrases and words to make sentences.

The school raised the money for the iPads in an “18 iPads in 18 Days” donation initiative.The Baudhuin Preschool, located at the Mailmen Segal Institue at Nova Southeastern University, specializes in teaching children with autism spectrum disorders with programs designed for pre-kindergarten students.

The school teaches about 150 students through a contract with the Broward County Board of Education.

via Faster Forward – iPads used to help children with autism.

Autistic teenager finds voice through social media

The Internet and social media have raised awareness of autism and helped build strong autism communities worldwide.

Here’s a story about an autistic Canadian teenager who is not verbal but uses social media to communicate with thousands of people. Check out Carly’s Twitter feed,  her Facebook page (which she updates frequently!), and her Carly’s Voice blog.

Carly Fleischmann — a young woman whose autism left her mute — has found her voice through the use of the Internet.

Fleischmann is able to type her thoughts into a computer, and now communicates with thousands of people through her Twitter and Facebook pages. She has found a way to use the social networking phenomenon, along with e-mail, to communicate with people all over the world — many of whom are curious about autism or have a friend or family member with the disorder. Carly says she does what she can to teach others about autism and what it is like for her — a message that she says comes “straight from the horse’s mouth.”

via Autistic Teenager Finds Voice Through Social Networking | The Autism News.

Agency helps autistic children speak

Two years ago, Stephen Hartman planned to shoot a video showing different stages of autism, but he got sidetracked at Syracuse University.

It was there that he learned about Kayla Takeuchi, a nonverbal autistic teenager who had learned to communicate using a keyboard in a style of “speaking” known as facilitated communication.

Hartman, who is executive director of an Annapolis-based agency that provides services to autistic children, decided to do a video about that concept instead.

The video, “Kayla’s Voice,” won a 2010 Telly Award, which honors local, regional and national cable television programs and videos. Now Hartman’s organization is helping six Maryland families bring the communication concept into their homes.

“People often tell parents of people with autism that if (your child) doesn’t speak by 7 or 8, it’s likely that they’ll never communicate, they’re never going to speak,” said Hartman, executive director of the Whole Self Center. “If you hold that kind of standard and don’t give that person a chance to learn, even the smallest potential is (gone).”

via Annapolis agency helps autistic children speak • Local (www.HometownAnnapolis.com – The Capital).

Typing helps boy with autism communicate, write poetry

Learning to type has helped this autistic child communicate – and express himself through poetry. Visit Healing Thresholds’ Facebook page to read one of Jamie’s poems.

Jamie Ponsoby, now 13, was diagnosed with autism at 2 1/2. His speech gradually disappeared and he had difficulty with sign language. His mom read about a person who found it easier to communicate by typing rather than talking and decided to teach Jamie to type. Now being able to communicate, Jamie has proven to his family that he is aware, has a sense of humor, has above-average emotional skills, and has a gift for poetry.

via News: Typing Helps a Boy with Autism Communicate | Healing Thresholds Autism Therapy.

iPhone app helps boy interact

For the first seven years of his life, Andrew struggled to tell his mother, Beth Patitucci, when he was hungry or when he wanted to sit on her lap. On an almost daily basis, his family and teachers at school would see Andrew cry, bite on his thumbs and lash out as if in pain. But he was unable to let them know what was wrong.

Eight-year-old Andrew Patitucci now has an easier time communicating with his family because of Proloquo2go, a new iPhone application he uses on his iPod.

Andrew, who at age 8 is the size of a 3- or 4-year-old, has Cornelia de Lange syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects communication and social interaction. It is characterized by low birth weight, slow growth, distinctive facial features and small stature.

But a new iPhone application Andrew uses on an iPod has opened the doors to Andrew’s mind.

via Proloquo2go iPhone App Helps Andrew Patitucci, Boy With Genetic Disorder Cornelia de Lange Syndrome to Interact – ABC News.