— OTPlan (@OTPlan) December 2, 2013
from Twitter https://twitter.com/OTPlan
December 01, 2013 at 06:04PM
I began developing AutisMate for my younger brother and first cousin who are both on the autism spectrum. My family and I saw the potential benefits that technology could provide for them, yet we became very disheartened by our experiences with the devices and apps available.
The interface designs were often too complex and not intuitive enough for autistic children, who tend to struggle with generalizing. The devices consisted of outdated hardware that sold for astronomical prices, even though they lacked the simplicity, functionality, and user friendly designs of the many tablet computers available today. The apps were difficult to use and surprisingly limiting. There was nothing that provided the required flexibility to help children with such a broad spectrum of needs… Until now.
AutisMate is an iPad app that takes full advantage of modern technology to provide an easy to use solution to help individuals with autism. It was designed in collaboration with numerous speech pathologists, therapists, parents, and teachers from a variety of backgrounds to promote:
- Functional Skills
- Social Skills
There is no single solution that will work for every person with autism and some may not benefit from computerized devices altogether. The last thing I wish to do is provide false hope that this app alone will suddenly alleviate the communication, functional, and behavioral obstacles you are dealing with. That being said, I truly believe AutisMate is the best therapy aide and communication solution that exists today for many people facing the challenges of autism.
Download here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/autismate/id512132428
After the ninth annual School Game Playing Day, educators are embracing this method all over again, writes Damian Corless:
board games are an integral part of the teaching process …, helping the children learn English, maths and a range of life skills.
Math helps with problem solving skill development. When kids play Monopoly, they could be facing a situation where they are behind the other players and they want to get ahead. The child can start reasoning if buying a piece of property would help him get ahead or should he take a different action? he’ll need to count how far behind he is and how many steps forward he wants to be.
The ability to identify and name basic colors can be improved with board games.
“A lot of junior and senior infants don’t know their colours when they start school. A lot of children would have difficulty saying that’s red or that’s blue. They might have difficulty if you say to them: ‘Can you pick up the red counter?’
“Board games are good for developing matching skills, where a child learns to match pieces that are of a kind. They’re good for developing grouping skills. They’re good for learning how to predict outcomes. What are the chances of this or that outcome? That’s a valuable maths skill.
“When it comes to learning English, the children have to read and understand the rules of the games. As they play, they have to express their oral language because the games demand they communicate with the other players.
“For the very young children board games help with early literacy skills. The movement of the pieces on the board involves hand-to-eye co-ordination which helps in early literacy skills where hand-eye co-ordination is vital in turning pages, pointing to words and moving along step-by-step.”
Board games have many benefits from motor coordination, social skills, to emotional regulation. It does not require expensive equipment and can be enjoyable for adults and kids.
Lesley Stahl reports on “60 Minutes” on autistic people whose condition prevents them from speaking are making breakthroughs with the help of tablet computers and special applications that allow them to communicate, some for the first time.
Life Rolls On Foundation’s program called “They Will Surf Again” is an adaptive surf program where people with disabilities, mostly with spinal cord injury, get the chance to surf! Some have never surfed before, some surf all the time, and some have not surfed since sustaining their injury.
MICHIGAN – Thousands of Michigan families are struggling to pay for autism treatment, since it’s not technically covered by insurance.
It’s an issue the State Senate has paid attention to, holding a series of public hearings throughout the state on a potential law that could change autism coverage. The last of those hearings was in Lansing Tuesday.
The treatment of autism is expensive, those Newschannel 3 spoke with on Tuesday say dealing with an autistic child can cost parents upwards of $50,000.
“I end up having to pay out of pocket for other services that my son needs,” said Tina Robbins, “and I have to pick and choose which ones I can afford.”
Robbins’ son has struggled with autism while she’s struggled with the expense. Her son is one of 15,000 children in Michigan dealing with the disease and the fact that it’s not covered by insurance.
“I work full time,” said Robbins, “and it’s difficult to take money out of my budget specifically for health care related things I feel should be covered by my insurance.”
A grassroots effort dubbed ‘Autism Insurance in Michigan’ is currently lobbying the State Senate to sign off on laws that would get autism treatment covered by insurance companies in Michigan, things such as diagnosis and treatment for children and adults, regardless of age.
Richard Malott, a professor at Western Michigan University, has researched autism and trains therapists at WMU. He admits the expense has hindered treatment for some.
“Generally early intervention has been for rich folks,” said Professor Malmott, “regular people have a hard time.”
Malmott does say that treatment can work.
“I don’t want to suggest it’s always a cure by any matter of means,” said Malmott, “but I would say essentially every time people use early intensive behavioral attention with these children, significant progress is made.”
Robbins says she’s used both paid and free services in the treatment of her son, but she knows many Michigan families aren’t as fortunate.
“Not everybody has access to those services at a discounted rate,” said Robbins.