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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sunday Share!

Hello Friends!  Happy Sunday and welcome back to my second Sunday Share!  Every Sunday I will share resources with you, so make sure you visit each week!  Today's focus is on apps for Autism.  There are so many apps on the market now that it can be difficult to know whether an app will be useful or not.  I did a research project on using iPads with students with Autism in 2013-2014.  During the course of that project, I was able to purchase and test a number of apps with my students.  Today, I am going to share a few of my favourites with you.

When I first introduced iPads to my students, some of them didn't have a strong pointing response.  They tried to operate the iPad with their whole hand, instead of using one finger.  While that may work in some apps, such as Fireworks or Somantics, for most you need to use one finger to tap icons and activate the app.  So, to teach these students to use their index finger to point, we used Dexteria Jr.

Dexteria Jr. is a set of hand and finger exercises to develop fine motor skills and handwriting readiness.  It includes activities that require students to use one finger to squish the vegetables, another that improves pincer grasp by pinching the vegetables and tracing activities.  For $3.49, it's a great app that my students and OT love!

Another great app for working on fine motor skills is Ready to Print. It has some similar activities as Deteria Jr., but has many more levels for students to work through.  Ready to Print progresses through the pre-writing skills in a specific order, so that children can master the visual-motor, visual-perceptual, and fine motor skills necessary for correct printing patterns. It is designed to teach children the correct patterns for printing, and to avoid bad habits that are difficult to change as the child gets older.   In the latest version, Ready to Print features 194 separate levels in 13 activities. The latest addition is the Touch and Drag activity, which helps students work on movement in one of four specific directions.

One app I use as part of our literacy program is First Words Deluxe.  It's a fun spelling game that the kids love!  It features 174 words with a built in faded visual prompt, cute graphics and fun animations.This app also has great settings that let you control the level of difficulty for the child – either with lots of hints or almost none at all. The letters slide nicely into each word and when completed the child is rewarded by having the pictured animal enlarge and animate briefly.

Another app I use for literacy instruction is I Like Books.  It features 37 picture books using real life photos and has one sentence per page.  Each book has a repetitive story allowing students to build their sight word vocabulary.  Students can choose to have the story read to them, read it by themselves or read it while pointing to each word.  The words are highlighted as students read the sentences and also spoken, so the student can hear what the word says. 

The last app I want to share with you today is by far the best educational app for students with Autism.  Bitsboard offers 25 different games to teach receptive and expressive vocabulary, reading, spelling, writing, sequencing and tracing letters.  With this app, you have access to the Bitsboard catalog which contains thousands of flashcards and pre-made lessons covering hundreds of categories and topics.  It is also fully customizable to meet the specific learning needs of your students and allows you to create your own DTT lessons.  Bitsboard also allows you to set up multiple users and track their progress with each lesson. And the best part of all...IT'S FREE!!!  


That's all for today!  If you have any questions about these apps, leave a comment or send me an email.  I'd love to hear from you!  And make sure to come back next Sunday for more great resources!  Enjoy your day!

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