ABCs 4 SLPs: G is for Giveaways - Apps for Autism Review and Giveaway
After reading Eric Sailers' list of applications for special education, I started looking all over the internet for more application lists. Then, I began to wonder if anyone had written a book about using applications for speech and language. I stumbled across "Apps for Autism", winner of an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award and written by Lois Jean Brady, M.A. CCC-SLP. This book is over 400 pages full of applications that one can use with people who have autism. Many of the applications can be used with others who have special needs as well. The more I learned about the book, the more I learned about Lois, including that we both decided we wanted to be a speech-language pathologist from volunteering over summer breaks at camps for children with special needs! How interesting! Writing the book called "Apps for Autism" is not the only large project that she has worked on. She specializes in Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as has a certificate in Assistive Technology, certificate in Computer Based Intervention, and has completed an Animal Assisted Therapy Program. Lois has helped develop the SpeakinMotion Vast-Autism applications, uses animal assisted therapy techniques, blogs for iTherapy by: ProActive Speech Therapy, and has most recently started a television series (also available on the web) called Autism TodayTV! I hope that someday I can accomplish even a quarter of the things that she has in her life so far! To learn more about the "Apps for Autism" book and enter to win a copy for yourself, continue reading!
"Apps for Autism" is described as a guide to over 200 applications to help improve communication, behavior, social skills, and more right on the first page. The introduction of the book tells the story of how Lois decided to write this comprehensive book. She first noticed a child at a restaurant who was experiencing sensory overload that was then calmed by a turn-taking game on the iPhone and that was when the light bulb went off in her head - finally a less expensive, cool device that could help a person communicate, work on social skills, and more! So, she decided to write "Apps for Autism" to help those who are beginning to research the iPad and how it can be used in therapy, for communication, etc. navigate through the hundreds of applications.
The Table of Contents is definitely helpful when determining where to start. For me, I wanted to read it all, but if you are a teacher who works primarily with students who use assistive technology or a parent whose child has certain strengths but other weaknesses, the Table of Contents is a great place to start. There are news articles interspersed throughout the text as well. Finally, the different parts are color coded to make it easier to navigate between the parts of the book. The parts/chapters are outlined as follows:
About Apps for Autism (choosing an iDevice, basic iDevice operations, how to download apps, Volume Purchase Program, etc.)
Part I: Apps to Get the Word(s) Out...
- Voice Output
- Sign Language
- One-Touch Switch
Part II: Receptive Language
- Listening & Auditory Processing
- Language Comprehension
Part III: Vocabulary and Concept Development
- Concept Development
Part IV: Pragmatics & Social Skills
- Video Modeling
- Social Skills Group Activities
- Eye Contact & Body Language
- Hygiene & Pre-Vocational
Part V: Organizers & Visual, Graphic & Auditory Aids
- Graphic Organizers & Visual Supports
- Visual Timers
- Sound Masking
Part VI: Apps for Occupational Therapy
- Bilateral Coordination
- Motor Planning
- Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Part VII: General Education
Part VIII: Neurological Communication Disorders (dysarthria, aphasia, apraxia, and dysphagia)
- Aphasia, Apraxia & Dysarthria
Part IX: Stuttering
Part X: Creative Learning
- Music, Song & Creativity
Part XI: Information for Parents & Caregivers
- Information About Autism
- Gluten Free
Part XII: Cool Stuff
- Cool Stuff (accessories, cases, and more)
Each chapter contains multiple applications related to the given category. Each application within the category shows the application name, developer name, developer website, and price. Then, there is information from the developer, customer review(s), success story/ies for some of the applications, app icons, screenshots for some applications, images of people using the application for some of the applications, and cautions/additional information.
At the end of the book is a conclusion. Lois Jean Brady states that there are hundreds of thousands of applications on the market with more being added every day. She also discusses making sure that you choose the most appropriate applications to fit your own, your clients', or your childs'/significant others'/family members'/friends' needs. I want to add that prior to purchasing an application for communication needs, especially when it comes to the applications that are over $100 that help the iDevice become a communication device, to consult with a speech-language pathologist, assistive technology specialist, or other qualified professional first. These professionals can help find an application or device to fit each individual's needs based on what type of images/text to use, how many words/images should be on a page/grid, the level at which the user is communicating, how many words to start using/learning, the level of literacy of a person, how to access the words/images, and more. Finally, Lois states that although Apple has created many different devices, the content/software on the device has not changed much and you can still use most of the same software/apps from the original iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad on the newer devices and vice versa.
What I Like About This Book:
- The book is well organized with a table of contents, categories of applications, color coded categories, and more.
- This book contains information on over 200 applications, reviews, developers, and developer application information.
- Each application is accompanied by its name, app icon, developer name, developer website, and price of the application.
- There are images of application screen shots, icons, products, and people using the applications.
- There is additional information about upcoming updates and cautions about the applications.
- It shows images of how to use the iPad along with labels, step by step directions, grids, and more which is helpful when you are first learning how to use an iDevice.
- I am not sure if Lois is planning on creating a second edition of this book, but I do know that you can read her reviews on more applications on her blog.
What I Would Like to See in Future Updates:
- I would love to see a second edition of the book with applications for Android devices, Nook, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, and more. The problem is, the book could get long. Also, it would be great to see some of the newer applications on the market and how older ones have been updated. Once again, I am not sure if a book format is appropriate for this as there are hundreds of new applications. Problem is that it is hard to keep up with the market as apps are being developed on a daily basis. I would also love to learn more information about research on applications, grant opportunities, software updates, new iDevices, and more. I would recommend following Jean Lois Brady on her blog, Autism TodayTV, and Facebook page for updates about new applications, devices, accessories, and more!
Consonantly Speaking was given a copy of "Apps for Autism" to review and give away. No other form of compensation was given.
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