mHealth: Battling Autism with an iPad
According to the advocacy organization, Autism Speaks and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Autism, affects one in 88 children and has become the fastest-growing serious developmental and communicative disability in the United States. Unfortunately, it receives less than 5 percent of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases. Currently, there is no medical detection or cure for autism.
But because of new technology, including new iPad apps, many children with autism are finding new ways to communicate.
Until recently, many children with autism would have to wear heavy devices around their necks to communicate with their peers. Now an iPad app called AutisMate helps children with autism communicate and learn how to act in specific social situations.
With AutisMate, parents or caretakers take and upload photos of their child’s bedroom, the kitchen, school, etc., to the app. When the app launches, the iPad’s GPS knows where the user is and allows the child to tap pictures of their surrounding environment. When they are hungry, for example, they can tap the refrigerator. The visuals then promote speech and communication.
Parents and doctors are well aware that early intervention of children with autism is a key factor in increasing their likelihood of communicating in social settings. Apps like AutisMate, MyPlayHome and All About Me can be effective in helping children who have this disorder.