In time for Autism Awareness Month, The Field Museum’s Field for All app just got an improvement to help families better prepare for a day out.
The app, developed in 2016 for kids with autism visiting the Crown Family PlayLab, now includes videos of permanent exhibits for easier planning, an optimized map of each museum floor that shows accessible bathrooms and the busy and quiet times in each area.
It also gives real-time tips and info about the temporary exhibits and games. Free, available in Apple and Google Play store.
We also reached out to Autism Home Support Services to see what apps her team likes these days. Colleen Horan, a speech language pathologist at Autism Home Support Services, likes Animals 4D. It is a free app (but you must buy a deck of cards to go with it.)
“The cards consist of animals and different types of foods the animals may eat. When the camera on the iPad catches the image on the card, it creates a 4D image on the screen (seems like the animal is right there on the table!) and can be put into “interactive mode” so that the animal can eat the appropriate food if both cards are side by side. This allows for a lot of language (asking and answering “wh” questions “what is he doing?” “what do you see?” “What do you hear?” answering yes/no questions “is it a monkey?” “is he eating?”)
For fun with a dash of learning, Horan says Toca Boca apps are popular. The various apps feature birthday party, haircut, doctor, dance party, cooking, etc. and are great for language, plus they can be played with others to make it more social. The apps encourage turn taking, engaging with peers, labeling and identifying, asking and answering questions, she says.
Prices vary in the Apple app store and on Google Play.
This article appeared in the summer issue of Special Parent. Read the rest of the issue.