There are many different forms of technology that can be used to help children who have autism. Some can be used to help a child who is on the autism spectrum to communicate with others. Some can be used to detect signs of autism in children. Others help parents learn more about their child.
Right now, there are many public schools that are using iPads with students who have autism. The touch screen makes it very easy for kids to use it. Teachers can load it with apps like iPrompt which uses pictures and icons to help a child who has autism to communicate his or her needs, and to follow a schedule. The iPrompt app was created by Carey and Dan Tedesco, parents of a son who has autism.
Karen Carmeli is a mom who lives in Plano, Texas. Her son, Yair, is nine years old. He has autism. She was trying several different methods of keeping her son’s therapy schedule organized. None of them were successful.
So, without having any computer development experience, Karen Carmeli created an app called “My Autism Day”. Parents can use it to track medications, diet, results of various therapies, and sleeping patterns. It can also organize emails from a child’s school, and record notes from doctors appointments.
A university student named Tom Kirkman created a toy called Passive Play. It was designed as part of a final-year project at the University of Dundee in the UK. Passive Play is an interactive toy cube that connects with an iOS app.
It is a wooden cube with lights that can be turned on and off with a touch. A parent can start an exercise, such as playing music, learning letters, or learning numbers. The app monitors what the child does with the cube. It shows which activities a child liked the most, how many times the child used it, and more. This gives parents of kids who have autism some insight on their child’s interests.
Guillermo Sapiro and Nicholaos Papanikolopoulos are researchers who set up an experiment at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development. They set up a series of five Microsoft Kinect sensors in a playroom of a school. They let a group of children, who were between the ages of three years old and five years old, into the playroom.
Microsoft Kinect sensors are motion detecting. The cameras recorded the movements of the children. The data from the recording was sent to a series of PC’s. The computers used the data to calculate which of the children were most at risk for autism. It based the calculation on data about their hand movements and activity levels.
Image by homard.net on Flickr