One of the hallmark symptoms of autism is a speech delay and a difficulty with communication. The following apps help to improve communication skills and aid in language development:
AAC Speech Communicator - This app uses pictograms to help create grammatically correct sentences. Choose from over 5,000 images to create the sentence you or your child needs to communicate their needs. Available free for Android.
ArtikPix - A flash card speech practice game developed for children with speech delays. Children match pairs, record their own speech to see if it matches the correct sounds and listen to the prerecorded audio for pronunciation. Available for $29.99 for full version with lots of prerecorded sounds or a free version allows you to add sounds as your child is ready. For iPad and iPhone.
ASL Dictionary - An app with videos of over 4,800 words and phrases signed to help children learn sign language and look up how to say something in sign language. Price is $2.99 and the app is available for iPad and iPhone.
Augie AAC - A functional communication app, this is contains basic communication for home and school, allowing your child to communicate their wants and feelings, such as "I want a turkey sandwich," or "I feel scared." It is fully customizable to fit your situation and your child’s abilities. Cost is $159.99 and it available for the iPad.
Autism myVoice - A pictogram communication app that has preloaded pictures for food, drinks, places to go (park, home, school), emotions and more. Aids in communication for non-verbal individuals with autism. Available for Android and costs $2.99.
HandySpeech - An app that converts handwriting to speech allowing those with speech and language impairments to "talk." Available for iPad. Cost is $29.99.
Image2talk - An app that offers functional communication using images. There are preloaded images in different categories, such as food, drink, activities, clothes and quick responses. Tap on an image to have it enlarge and then say the word or phrase. The speech can be set to be delayed to allow the user the chance to say the word first. Available for iPhone and iPad at a cost of $24.99.
Communicating Basic Needs - a fully customizable app to help communicate daily needs. Images are vivid photographs to help keep children engaged. Pictures of everyday items and tasks help children communicate what they want or need. Ideal for young children. Available for iPhone and iPad for $39.99.
AAC Speech Buddy - A communication aid that allows you and your child to create custom speech sets and download them to your device. Available for iPad, iPhone and Android for $27.99.
Conversation Builder Teen - An app that simulates conversations to help teens learn conversation skills in a number of different settings. Available for iPad and costs $29.99.
Voice4u - A communication app with images to help facilitate communication about feelings, wants, needs and actions. Available for Android, Kindle Fire, Nook, iPad and iPhone. Cost is $49.99.
Verbal Victor - An assistive communication app with a camera and microphone for customizing images. Available for iPad for $6.99.
Talking Cards for iPad - an app that allows you to create personal albums with pictures, text and sounds. Lets you create a customized album to target areas of speech or improve your child’s communication skills using pictures of items and places he sees every day. Available for iPad for $28.99.
QuickTalkAAC- An app developed for those who are non-verbal. QuickTalk allows for quick and functional conversation. Available for Android for $14.99.
Easy Questions - An app to help practice conversation skills. The app has 90 questions - conversation and "wh" questions. Users can record and playback a response to allow for practice in asking and answering questions. For Android. Free.
There are many more apps to help in developing communication skills and as assistive communication aids. The ones listed here are only a representation of what is available. You will need to determine which app best suits your child’s needs.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.