Autism is a developmental disorder in which individuals face challenges in their language, social skill, behavior, and thinking. The symptoms of these challenges are visible before age three. If parents suspect their child of having these traits, it is advisable to consult a health care provider.
Autism Connect is a complete guide for parents and children facing the consequences of autism. Their website provides valuable information about service to the autism community. The data includes recommendations of some of the best apps for autism, books, treatment methods (conventional and complementary). For all their members and followers, spread across the globe, they present a special autism directory.
This accurate autism directory is a useful resource for families and professionals. From health, therapies, and education, the autism directory provides addresses of special schools and therapists within easy reach of families. To get the details, one just has to visit the directory, enter the details about the country, state, and city and lastly select the type of service needed.
The sole aim of this autism directory is to offer support to the autism families in any part of the world.
In many cases, autism affects the development of language/speech and social skills. This impacts the child’s approach toward focus and learning. It is therefore important to provide children with autism tools such as apps to help them gain the essential, reading, recognition and cognitive skills.
These apps are compatible with phones like iPhones, iPads, and androids. They are easy to use, light and can be easily carried.
A large number of educational apps help in developing the child’s potential. They are formatted in a story form or to be played like games. Some of the apps have fun mascots that make learning interesting and full of fun.
Some of the best apps for autism available at Autism Connect includes -
1. ABA Programs for Kids with Autism: A guide for parents and caregivers
Applicable for iWatch, iPad and iPhone, this ‘paid’ app is a valuable guide for parents of children with behavioural problems. It has 25 ABA programs together with useful tips to help a child with autism.
One can easily download the free app, Aiko & Egor: Animation 4 Autism on iPhone, iWatch, and iPad. Developed by See Beneath, this app is in a simplified animation form that children find very engaging. It has been proved beneficial in managing many developmental levels of autism.
3. Autimo - Discover emotions
The name itself suggests that this app helps the child to learn about facial expressions and emotions. Easy to download on Android, this free app displays more than 50 coloured pictures and enjoyable activities including spot the differences and match the pairs.
Some of the best apps for autism are designed for individuals two years old to adults. They are interesting, informative and easy to navigate.
Children with autism experience adverse personal issues that prompt them to act or engage in inappropriate behaviour patterns. To find the most effective treatment options, parents must visit a paediatrician to get in-depth knowledge about various therapies to deal with different symptoms of autism. After a thorough diagnosis, the paediatrician offers effective aid for children as per the level and severity of the symptoms. The child can be asked to be enrolled for speech therapy, occupational therapy, play therapy, yoga therapy, drama therapy or animal assisted therapy.
Drama Therapy For Autism
Drama therapy is more than just acting on a stage in the presence of an audience. It involves dialogue delivery and facial expressions to denote the emotion in the skit. This helps individuals with autism to recognize facial expressions and increased mental health. Drama therapists attend individuals throughout the planned activities. They allow them to enact scenes that represent the type of life they want to live. This brings positive changes in their behaviour and emotional state. Acting in groups also improves interpersonal relationships with other participants. Improvements are seen in skills through active participation in:
Storytelling or speech
Playing roles of their favourite character
Improvisation on instruments such as a piano
Masks (to help them identify the character they play)
Objectives Of Drama Therapy For Autism
The key goal ofdrama therapy for autism is to encourage the expression of their body language and emotion in a dramatic activity. The activities designed by the therapists, for each participant, are aimed to bring the following positive behavioural changes:
Improve interpersonal relationship skills
Help individuals face problems more healthily without self-harming
Bring about physical and emotional well-being
Improve overall quality of life
Ranging from children to adults, drama therapy helps treat many issues related to autism.
Play Therapy For Autism
Play therapy for autism is a way to release stress or past trauma, paving way for the healthy development of children with autism. The physical role-playing activities of play therapy help individuals to communicate, remove traumatic memories, reveal their repressed emotions, and aid personal growth. Thus, play therapy is considered as an effective cognitive and psychological treatment.
Play therapy is the most sought after treatment that benefits children who experience emotional or behavioural challenges. This approach is specially designed to treat children of all age groups, in solo or group sessions.
For play therapy, a therapist creates a comfortable and safe environment for children is allowed to play with as few limits as possible. The playroom or the counselling space is well equipped with a wide selection of toys. When playing or interacting with these toys, the therapist encourages them to express their feelings. By observing them playing with toys, the therapist learns about their emotions, and thoughts which the child finds difficult to express verbally.
Play therapy for autism helps children, adolescents, and even adults. The playful exploration and activities enhance the individual’s cognitive skills, physical health, enhance relationships, behaviours, and motor movement (balance, limb coordination, fine motor skills).
Autism is a distressing neuro-developmental condition that becomes evident during the early childhood stage. The symptoms is easily detectable between 12 to 24 months, and include marked delays in speech, behaviour problem and social development. There is no cure for autism, but therapies and treatments through medications can help in alleviating the symptoms to induce relaxing effects.
Treatment approaches for autism involve therapies such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, play therapy, art therapy, and speech therapy. Applied behavior analysis or ABA therapy for autism is a treatment based on introducing precise behaviour skills in individuals. The therapy is a flexible treatment that is modified to meet the unique needs of each individual. The main goal of applied behavior analysis therapy for autism is to teach skills that are useful in everyday life.
How It Works
ABA therapy for autism is a proven approach that helps individuals to learn new behaviours. After collecting the necessary information, the psychologist chalks out a plan according to the behavior glitches faced by each individual. They modify their social and emotional behaviour and boost intellectual ability. Through an ABA approach, the therapist helps individuals to adjust to normal life and develop skills that match with their peers.
Aba therapy resembles a series of ‘tests, where the therapist asks the participants to follow a certain behaviour (for example, to pick up a certain object or await their turn). If they accomplish the given tasks, they are rewarded in the form of a treat, a picture card, or a comic of their favorite cartoon hero. In case they do not comply, the task is repeated.
The tasks are based on the behavior evaluation of each individual, his/her abilities and needs. For instance, if a person is capable of recognizing shapes, the therapist will focus on training him/her on different and more challenging tasks.
What It Does
Applied behavior analysis therapy for autism tries to introduce new behaviour or strengthen the existing ones, hereby diminishing unwanted behaviours. This therapy is based on an ‘applied behavior analysis’ approach, meant for improving his/her skills. The therapy provides:
Positive Behaviour: The therapists'test individuals to figure out the reason behind a particular behavior. Accordingly, they introduce a work-strategy to teach skills and make their behaviour more positive. The goal is to encourage them to behave appropriately in society.
Essential Response: The goal of ABA therapy for autism is to improve the pivotal/essential skills in each individual. These skills help in improving their ability to take part in a meaningful conversation.
ABA therapist either provides modified behavioural instruction individually or to a small group. The therapist teaches skills using positive feedback to encourage the participants.
Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder, affects the individual’s behaviour, social, and communication functioning. To manage these behaviours and other associated challenges psychological interventions plays an important role for managing signs of autism. Diagnosing and helping people to cope with the disorder, is the first priority of an experienced psychologist.
Psychosocial interventions adopt various behavioural and educational strategies to support people with autism. Interventions such as applied behaviour analysis, sensory integration therapy, along with art, drama and music therapies are aimed at getting positive outcomes in people with autism.
Signs And Symptoms
Some of the most common signs and symptoms seen in a person with autism include:
Does not babble or point at objects of their desire
Failure to maintain steady eye contact
Does not respond when called by their name
Difficulty while interacting with peers
A gradual loss of some of the acquired skills
Unusual responses to sensory input
Repetitive behaviour such as rocking or flapping arms
Obsessive interest in objects/parts of the objects or repeat a particular topic
Prompt diagnosis of autism symptoms is important. Intensive early intervention can help a child in acquiring new skills and also hone the existing fragile skills. It may help them to succeed in school, acquire good jobs and perform tasks essential in their day to day life. Therefore, if parents notice signs of autism in their child, please arrange for an appointment with the family physician.
Experts such as psychologists, paediatricians, and neuro-psychologists can confirm the reason behind the brain and behavioural or emotional activities in people with autism. To make a perfect diagnosis, they draw information through:
Conducting interviews (patients and parents)
Observing the behaviour
Medical examinations to confirm the involvement of other conditions
Each person with autism displays different symptoms having a varied range of strengths and challenges. Psychologists recommend treatments and therapies based on the emotional, behavioural and cognitive requirements of each person. As the related conditions last a lifetime, the psychologists plan strategies that help people with autism to succeed in school, home, and at workplace. Their goal is to make them successful at every stage when moving towards adulthood.
Despite variations in the psychological approach, the goal is still to treat the symptoms and to provide a stable as well as independent life to people with autism. Some of the psychological interventions that support people's needs are:
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
Social Skills Training
Cognitive & Behavioural therapy
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
These developmental or behavioural interventions help people with autism to form a positive and meaningful relationship with others. The therapies focus on inducing skills (social and communication) useful in organized settings. They also develop skills beneficial for daily living.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficiencies in speech, behaviour, and social interaction. It is also marked by restricted or repetitive patterns of action. Children with autism also display aggression, inability to focus, lack of cognitive skills, and hyperactivity. Gene mutation and environment toxins are said to be the causes of autism.
Exposures to environmental toxicants may happen during pre or post-natal stages in babies. It can lead to alterations in the developmental patterns and impaired neurological function. Toxics including lead, mercury, and arsenic are said to be the reason behind autism in children. A developing brain is more vulnerable to damage from toxicants than the adult brain.
Immune dysregulation, oxidative stress, and depleted glutathione are some of the effects seen in children with autism that arises because of environmental toxicants. They are at times, accompanied by symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
The diagnosis of children, suspected for environmental toxicant, includes screening for lead levels in the blood at regular intervals. Chelation of metal toxins is highly recommended to treat individuals with autism.
What Is Chelation Therapy For Autism?
Chelation therapy for autism is a process to rid the body from metal toxins. This procedure is done using chemical solutions like Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). When injected into the bloodstream, they bind strongly with the metals and minerals like lead, mercury, iron, arsenic, and calcium in plaque form. The harmful metals are then excreted from the body through urine.
When the metals are removed from the body, the blood flows freely. The arteries are able to supply oxygenated blood to the brain. This may slow down the complication of autism from getting worse. EDTA acts as an antioxidant and protects the body from inflammation.
Is Chelation Therapy For Autism Safe?
There's no cure for autism. Complementary therapies are often suggested for treatment. However, chelation therapy for autism is found to be effective and sometimes harmful.
Most of the children who underwent chelation therapy with DMSA showed improvement in their behavior. The mercury levels measured before and after treatment, confirms the level of metal excreted from the body. It also helps to identify the behavioural differences among children. Children with autism show greater improvements in communication and social behaviour after chelation therapy.
But when administered in high doses, it may lead to serious consequences such as kidney damage. Some of the other negative effects include low blood sugar and high blood pressure.
Autism is a complex neurological disorder that affects the verbal, social and cognitive developments within the first three years in a child after birth. These disabilities result in difficulty while communicating either verbally or non-verbally, lead to depression and uncontrolled outbursts of anger due to frustration. Music therapy for autism helps the children to convey their thoughts and work in unison to overcome their communication and social deficit.
Early intervention through art therapy such as dance therapy, drama therapy, and music therapy creates a supportive setting to help children bond with their parents, therapists and other participants in a healthy way. Music therapy helps children with autism to know how to communicate with others besides learning the use of instruments and the beats or rhythm to motivate one’s brains and body.
Can Music Make a Difference?
Music is said to stimulate both hemispheres of our brain. A therapist can use a tune or a melody and various instruments to support cognitive ability and self-awareness. Music therapy for nonverbal autism encourages communicative behavior which one of the most devastating symptoms that children with autism have difficulty with. To make music, the children are trained to work in unison and interact with one another. But for children with autism who find interacting with others difficult, the therapists first help them to bond with the chosen instrument and then develop a bonding with the group along with their instrument.
The Musical Support And What To Expect
Music therapy for nonverbal autism assists in teaching children how to communicate by learning a new word from a song, and also to understand how to act based on the emotion and the messages that it (song) convey. Listening to music in a group let the children feel confident to sing along with others. Dancing to the tune of the music can help to stimulate the sensory systems, and to enhance motor skills.
Music therapy is beneficial to not just children but also adults with autism. The music therapists involve valuable communication building exercise at the sessions. The therapists help to develop children’s skills in their own space with patience and understanding in a safe and jovial environment. A performance by the children receives applause and words of praise to motivate confidence.
Music sessions involve techniques for stimulating speech and sound, the skill to imitate and improved attention in children. The effectiveness of music therapy has revealed improvement in brain structure and its functions without the use of medications.
Digital technologies, especially iPhone, and smartphones have impacted the autism community with mobile device-based software and apps. Autism related apps offer literature (reading, math, drawing, etc.) to help individuals in real-world settings.
Autism is marked by symptoms that include impaired communication and social skills, restrictive or repetitive behaviors and lack of interest. The available treatment options are based on addressing neurological or medical conditions. Various therapies like art therapy and occupational therapy, etc. are also implied towards bettering the condition with hopes to change the unusual progression of the illness. Following the recent trend, parents, therapists, teachers, and caregivers make use of tablet and smartphone apps for children with special needs. These autism-related apps impart social, communication, academic, play and motor skill essential for their daily living. Apps for parents help in acquiring information about ways to understand and support their child with autism.
How Can Apps Help Children With Autism?
When downloading apps, parents can either opt for paid or free apps for autism. Before downloading these apps, it is important to learn about the needs of the child on the autism spectrum. Instructors often approve of apps that provide visual cues to support transitions in communication, improve focus/concentration and reduce anxiety. Both the paid and free apps for autism, available on websites help children to identify and control emotions, express themselves, and manage time and routines.
The best autism apps on the Autism Connect list are used for myriads of children with autism as a supplement with other therapies and treatment protocol. Recommended by general practitioners, the apps are recommended for children (age of two years) as an early intervention application which includes puzzles designed to learn how to integrate multiple structures of an object.
How Can Apps Help A Child To Learn?
Each child with autism has a different set of symptoms. Hence, an app preferred for one child may not necessarily help other children with autism. Choosing an appropriate app can help a child by:
Gaining learning abilities and interests
Getting his/her attention to learn new skills
Helping in exploring new ideas to create things
Learning through trial and error
Practicing new skills constantly while matching and arranging shapes
Focusing without being distracted
Tablet And Smartphone Apps For Autism
Tablet and smartphone apps for children with autism help parents to find information and teach play, academic, communication, social, motor, communication, and occupational skills. Still, choosing the right apps is essential!