For most people, an Android phone is a useful gadget in our tech arsenals. For autistic children, Android phones and apps can be a great way to enjoy play therapy almost anywhere. Autistic children can sometimes have difficulty with human expressions and reactions, which can become frustrating for them. However, they always know what to expect when they tap or slide on the surface of an Android phone.
It’s not just the predictable tapping action of the Android phone that makes it helpful for play therapy activities. Certain apps have proven very useful for autistic children. Applications that match fun-looking graphics to words are great fun. Others help children visualize tasks that are normally written or spoken. For example, when an autistic child watches a step-by-step guide to handwashing on an Android phone, it’s easier for them to copy what they’ve seen than it is to follow verbal instructions.
We’ve assembled 5 apps for Android phones that you can use for play therapy to help your autistic child’s development:
This app is an Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) application. Autistic children who need assistance with verbal communication can use this app to help. This picture-to-speech translator is an easy-to-learn communication method for children. The app creates sentences from a list of pictograms that your child can tap on. The app then reads the sentences aloud. Tap a picture, and the app speaks for them. Kids think it’s fun, and it’s a great way to help children with their verbal communication skills!
According to the app’s creator, a child’s ability to notice and respond to multiple visual cues is important. This can be challenging for children with autism. This is especially true when multiple cues come at the same time. It can lead to a condition known as “tunnel vision.” Research shows that improving the ability to respond to multiple cues reduces tunnel vision. This in turn leads to improvements in learning abilities.
As children progress through the app’s puzzles, they are also developing their ability to respond to a greater number of simultaneous cues. The app is designed for younger children, and it’s intended for daily use. The developers created the app to be both fun and a learning experience. It also responds to your child’s learning level and adapts the puzzles to match. It’s a useful and fun play therapy tool to help any autistic child’s cognitive abilities.
This app contains over 900 puzzles for children aged 2-6. Puzzles like these make great play therapy exercises for autistic children. The puzzles improve spatial thinking, visual reasoning, pattern and logic detection. The app will gradually increase in difficulty as your child learns develops.
While your child is having fun, they’re also developing logical reasoning and critical thinking skills through play therapy games. Over time, these puzzles help children with autism to improve attention and concentration, and enhance their problem-solving and reasoning abilities.
Touch applications like these are great for children with autism. This app provides a soothing, calming tool for a fidgety child. The simple cause and effect of touching the screen to generate particles teaches younger children with autism that they can do something that causes a reaction. Apps like these are especially useful for younger children with autism — even children 2 years old or less! It’s fun to see your child’s face light up when they realize they can touch the screen to make bursts of color appear. Playing with the app can also improve hand-eye coordination.
MagnusCards is a free app for anyone looking to learn life skills. It is especially helpful for people with autism or developmental disabilities. People of all ages can learn step-by-step instructions for various life skill activities, like brushing your teeth or washing your hands. It can teach even more advanced skills, like going to the store or riding on a bus. There are plenty of downloadable instruction cards to choose from. The app is also customizable by adding pictures and instructions, so any task can be easily visualized.
Phone and Tablet Apps Provide Perfect Play Therapy
These Android apps make great tools for play therapy for children with autism. They’re fun to play at the same time they enhance cognitive development. That’s a winning combination for children with autism, and their parents.