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Autism Apps

Tip Sheet

What are iDevices?

iDevices are mobile devices from Apple computers. There are three models of iDevices: the iPad, the iTouch and the iPhone.

What are Apps?

Apps are software or programs that run on mobile devices. They are designed to perform a variety of tasks for many different purposes such as entertainment, education, business, productivity, etc. Apps for iDevices are installed via Apple’s iTunes online store.

What kinds of Apps are available for children with special needs?

There are thousands of apps to facilitate communication, support learning, promote independence or just have fun.  To find the right app for your child, start by installing AutismApp. This is a free app that offers a comprehensive list of apps for children with autism classified by their purpose or function e.g., behaviour and social skills, communication, fine motor skills, fun and games, sensory, speech and language, visual schedules, math, literacy, etc. AutismApp includes detailed information about each app, as well as price, reviews, screenshots and, in some cases, videos. It can only be used with a Wi-Fi connection.

Some popular apps for children with autism, classified by their function or purpose are:


Pictello: ($18.99) allows creation of talking photo albums, Social Stories®, and talking books; stories can be shared with non-Pictello users as PDF files through email, http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/pictello/id397858008?mt=8

All About Me Storybook: ($2.99) customizable storybook offering picture, text and audio support to help children share their personal information; it contains twelve chapters including name, address, birthday, phone number, family members, things I like, etc. http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/all-about-me-storybook/id426201106?mt=8

The Social Express: ($88.99) interactive social lessons to help children understand social situations, identify feelings in others, read non-verbal cues, learn how to start conversations, etc.  It has appealing graphics, a useful cueing system and customizable skill levels, http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/the-social-express/id477525808?mt=8


Abilipad: ($18.99) allows creation of customizable keyboards with alphabet, whole words, phrases or pictures; a notepad section on top of the keyboard displays the child’s writing accomplishments, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abilipad/id435865000?mt=8

ABC PocketPhonics: ($2.99) teaches handwriting, letter sound identification and first words spelling in fun, interactive ways; it has pleasant images and sounds, http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/abc-pocketphonics-letter-sounds/id299342927?mt=8

I Like Books: ($1.99) 37 picture books for children ages 0 to 6; words are highlighted in red as the audio is played back.  It has attractive images and large text offering an errorless and enjoyable reading experience,



Choiceworks: ($9.99) allows creation of customizable feeling boards, waiting boards with timer and visual schedules paired with an all done column to check off steps, http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/choiceworks-visual-support/id486210964?mt=8

Time Timer iPad edition: ($6.99) visual countdown; electronic version of popular Time Timers used in schools and therapy sessions,


iMovie: ($4.99) great movie making app to create and edit movies and teach desired behaviours via video modeling (i.e., the child watches a video of himself or a peer performing a desired behaviour successfully and then is encouraged to imitate the behaviour), http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/imovie/id377298193?mt=8


Answers YesNo HD: ($3.99) has two large customizable talking buttons for simple, straightforward choice making tasks; includes up to 30 pairs of customizable buttons, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/answers-yesno-hd/id393762442?mt=8

GoTalk NOW: ($79.99) has up to 25 pictures per screen, large photo library with clear and crisp photographs, built-in internet image search, and recorded voices; text-to-speech in a variety of languages is available at an extra cost,


Proloquo2Go: ($189.99) popular communication app; has large picture library of line-drawing symbols, grids and keyboard with word prediction; includes large set of customizable features, http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/proloquo2go/id308368164?mt=8


Inclusive Smarty Pants ($2.99): large, colorful cartoon faces with animated expressions and sounds to help children identify feelings and emotions, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inclusive-smarty-pants/id490126715?mt=8

Put it Away: (FREE) teaches children how to tidy up and clean up a room by dragging items to specific locations on a scene (e.g., in a kitchen scene, bowls and plates have to be placed in the sink); exercises category, sorting and memory; can be fully customizable with scenes created from the photo library, http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/put-it-away/id494750234?mt=8

Toontastic (FREE): cartoon movie maker; kids can pick the background, characters, colours, or music, record voice and create their own animated video stories,


Picture the Sentence HD ($5.99): educational app that helps children understand language by visualizing key parts of sentences individually and then as a whole, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/picture-the-sentence-hd/id478599625?mt=8  


Talking Carl: ($0.99) funny cartoon that repeats everything that you say in a silly voice, http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/talking-carl-gugl/id434860636?mt=8

Thomas & Friends Game Pack: ($2.99 each): interactive puzzles, colouring and animation; a must-have for Thomas the Tank Engine lovers who enjoy matching and puzzles, http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/thomas-game-pack/id352660283?mt=8

Hand Drums: ($0.99) fun and simple app with large and realistic looking images, http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/hand-drums/id380564151?l=fr&mt=8  

The following apps can be used in any language, including French:


  • Pictello
  • Abilipad
  • Time Timer
  • iMovie
  • Answers YesNo
  • GoTalk NOW
  • Inclusive Smarty Pants
  • Toontastic
  • Hand Drums


Please note: Prices listed are from the Apple Store, August 2012.

Keywords: Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Applications (Apps), Computers, Communication, Behaviour, Social Skills, Educational Software, Leisure, Teaching Strategies


Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.