Friday, November 16, 2012

Tips for Choosing Software and Apps

Since there are so many apps and computer programs to choose from, here's a list of tips to help guide your shopping. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have other tips. Thanks!

  • Write down a list of skills you'd like to target with the programs/apps. For example, do you want your child or student to work on counting, greeting and conversation skills, reading, etc. This will help you focus your search.
  • Read reviews of apps before you buy.
  • See if programs/apps have a trial, demo, or "light" version that you can try for free before you buy.
  • Make sure the program/app is easy to use. If it isn't very user friendly, the child may loose interest or not learn as well.
  • See if the app/program can "grow" with your child/student. For example, I have a counting app that starts out with numbers 1 through 5, but the settings can be adjusted to go to higher numbers.
  • Make sure you (as the parent or teacher) find that the program or app settings are easy to customize and manage.
  • Choose program/apps that require little or no reading, unless this is the skill you want to focus on, or if your student can read fluently.
  • See if the program/app uses errorless learning. This means that the program prevents the child from making a wrong answer. This may be done by only allowing the correct shape to be placed in an "answer box" in the program. Incorrect shapes are immediately moved away from the "answer box" if the child tries to put them there. Errorless learning is helpful because we don't want the student to practice getting a wrong answer.
  • Use programs/apps that match a child's special interests. For example, if your child is really interested in trains or cars, find programs with this theme. A child may enjoy a train theme game more than a program specifically designed for students with autism that doesn't have that theme.

More tips for choosing apps are in the book:

Reviews of specific apps can be found here: http://momswithapps.com/apps-for-special-needs/

References:
http://www.squidoo.com/ipad-apps-for-autism
http://thesocialexpress.com/1486/learn-more/choose-app-kids-autism/

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