Well, I have bitten the bullet and joined Twitter – despite working in technology I’m not much of any early adopter as you can see! My twitter account is @SueReviews
The big motivation is that I continue to receive regular requests from parents, teachers and practitioners asking me for advice about what hardware to buy and what apps to put on it. Very hard to handle as I don’t want to set myself up as an expert on this, but equally if there’s a need for advice and no-one giving it perhaps it is my responsibility? I’d like to find funding to do a proper research project which would include a full ‘app review’ and also gather data from families and professionals about how they use technology to support, teach and entertain children and young people with autism. The idea is to synthesise people’s experiences so we can provide simple advice to people who are new to this area – learn from the mistakes of the early adopters who are forging ahead on behalf of the rest of us. However, until I can fund a proper, evidence-based, scientific approach to this pressing question I’ve decided to get the ball rolling by writing some reviews, based on my personal and professional opinion, and drawing on various informal chats with parents and so on. There’s a mock review below so you can see what format I’ll be using – comments welcome by email so I can improve this. This mock-up is a review for our own app so mega-biased and just a demo for the idea really!
People can continue to follow this blog for full details but I’ll also post links on Twitter which might be an easier way to stay updated. The ratings in the table above reflect quality (stars) but also a more neutral score (circles) for other dimensions which may or may not be important to you. Evidence is great, but it is unrealistic expect the fast-changing world of app development to stop and do an RCT on each new app! Autism-specificity and learning potential may or may not be something you are looking for. Lots of apps are just super fun and why shouldn’t they be? So I’ve used circles here to provide information, without impliying that this is a quality issue.
I’m also repeating here links to various online resources such as lists of apps, reviews by users, and other information. After all, my own reviews will reflect – for the time being at least – just my opinion so do look around to see what others say, before making any big decisions!
- Autism Speaks list of apps for autism, categorised by learning outcome, price and device.
- NY Times article on apps for autism
- parent review spreadsheet of tried and tested apps
- Technology in Education website including reviews of free or discounted apps
- American Speech and Language pathologist blog, featuring technology reccomendations
- Good info from Bidging Apps about selecting technology for users with disabilities
- App info from a Spanish site, available in English too but representing a rare non-anglo-centric perspective
- Autism Speaks list of apps
- NAS online forum for discussion – including a few technology specific groups, for professionals not parents.
- Technology for autism information site.
- Edinburgh University group supporting and researching technology for assisted learning.
- Website reviewing apps for autism from a parent perspectives
- Another website reviewing new technologies for all children
- And if you’re really keen you can even buy this book about apps for autism: Apps for Autism, by Lois Jean Brady