April is National Autism Awareness Month. To celebrate and bring awareness throughout the month, we will be highlighting positive stories we love about people with autism, as well as the stories of their friends and families.
The more information we have about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the more we can dedicate resources to making advances in science, research, and technology to better the lives of those with ASD.
Fortunately, there are already several technologies and devices out there that help people with ASD do such things as communicate, interact with others, feel more comfortable in social situations, and beyond. Below, we've listed just a few of these amazing assistive technologies as they are all worth celebrating.
We can't wait to see what other innovations are on the horizon!
Smartstones is a communication app for people on the autism spectrum who are nonverbal and/or have physical challenges. A sensory remote controller can processes different gestures, movements, swipes, taps, and even thought and facial commands, and helps the user communicate.
Appyautism is a search tool helping those on the autism spectrum gain access to suitable technologies and apps for people with ASD. The service is available in English and Spanish, and users can narrow down their search depending on their devices, operating systems, and the kind of apps they like to use. The search engine contains over 400 applications. And best of all, it's free.
Spectrum News reported that VocaliD is helping people with autism who are nonverbal communicate with others. It makes the important point that a lot of people who cannot speak still want to communicate. VocaliD is a speech-generating service which enables people to communicate by crowdsourcing real human voices as opposed to robotic ones. The system will find a voice based on even just one sound or vowel a nonverbal person says. People can then use text-to-speech applications to communicate.
Leka is a "special robot companion" created for kids with functional needs. It enables them to play, learn, and develop. The toy is programmable and encourages kids to interact with it. According to Live Science, Leka has a "face" and uses vibrations, lights, sounds, and colors to interact with users.
Synchrony is a drum-like device which aims to help those on the autism spectrum communicate through music. It can be used as part of formal or informal music therapy. The website states that it helps parents and children develop intimacy and understanding through using it.
6. Bluebee Pals
Blubee Pals are dubbed "educational plush tech toy companions." At first you might just think they're regular stuffed animals, but they are actually able to connect to your computer, table, smartphone, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. The toys can then stream apps, read along to stories, and sing with moving mouths. This makes them great for all kids to learn with, but Autism Speaks points out that "Speech-Language Pathologists and Special Educators have observed increases in communication, following directions and turn-taking when the Bluebee Pals are used in conjunction with an appropriate Android or Apple device."
Cover image via MNStudio I Shutterstock