BOOK REVIEW: Apps for Autism
200 apps to enhance communication, behavior, social skills and other issues of people with autism. That is the highlighted phrase on the cover of Apps for Autism.
From the perspective of a reader of iAutism, the first question one may ask is: is this book worthwhile? My answer is ‘yes’. The list of iAutism list includes even more apps. But as you probably know if you’ve read other lists of apps for people with autism published in other websites, each one has its own orientation, its own categories, its set of data for each app, etc.
In short, Lois Jean Brady has gathered a lot of applications classified in 31 categories. Many of them have a strong focus on educational apps, and include many applications not specific to people with special needs but that she has found that may be useful for learning.
31 categories and 11 groups
The 200 apps are grouped into 11 parts and 31 chapters. Each part and each chapter has an introduction. Then, for each app, the author provides some basic data (name, logo, price, developer, website), a brief description written by the developer and a customer review. Here and there, you’ll also find some success stories that explain how these applications have been used with individuals with autism in an effective manner.
In total, each app typically takes a page, although there are some that take 2 or 3. Regarding the topics covered, there is a little of everything. The first part, which is the most extensive, includes apps that help to communicate: AAC, sign language, switches, text to speech and articulation apps.
Other parts are devoted to receptive language, vocabulary, social skills (video modeling, skills, eye contact, …), schedulers and timers, reading and writing, mathematics, apraxia, dysphasia and other communication disorders, tests, data collection apps, books and diets. With so many categories, there is a bit of everything and relatively few apps in each category.
And there is still room for a few extras: an introduction to the iDevices, the operation of the App Store and the Volume Purchase Program, a chapter on bags, cases, mounts, switches and even clothing, and finally a list of references on the fascinating subject of apps for autism.
Apps for Autism provides an extensive list of categories that will help you to think on innovative uses, and many apps not specific to people with autism but that may be suitable for their education. Certainly the descriptions of each application are short, but chapter introductions and success stories give interesting tips.
Overall, I would recommend this book for those seeking an introduction or new ideas on how to use iDevices for people with autism, rather than the most comprehensive list of applications or in-depth app reviews. Also, the book, because is printed and not in a digital format, can be a great help for parents and professionals that have not ever used an iDevice or simply do not want to spend many hours digging for information online. Apps for Autism will be an invaluable way for them to get an insight into the world of tablets and smartphones as tools for people with autism.