Our autistic son is working on building his vocabulary. He practices in his day-to-day activities, talking with us, and using technology, but still finds it challenging. Vocabulary is a tough skill to master, as he is improving on communication and language skills. He is a high-functioning autistic, rambunctious, serious little man with a photographic memory. We learned he is a visual learner and can see words once and memorize how to spell them and what they mean. We are trying to build off this and have found several iPad apps that are helping.
Because autistic children learn visually and most are language-challenged, the iPad can help by offering apps for vocabulary building, category naming, learning opposites, and communication.
We found a few apps that we like for building vocabulary. One is Speech with Milo, that has created separate apps, like Articulation, Verbs, Prepositions, Sequencing, and Storybook. Prices range from .99 to $3.99. We use the verbs app to help my son understand actions and build his vocabulary using the “ing” words, such as standing, running, thinking, waving, etc. The app is colorful and interactive and lets him move at his own pace.
I also just discovered the series of Vocabulary Catcher apps, which are free. It offers 6 separate apps for different categories.
- Vocabulary Catcher 1 – Numbers, Colors, Fruit
- Vocabulary Catcher 2 – Zoo Animals, Farm Animals, and Sea Animals
- Vocabulary Catcher 3 – Toys and Classroom Objects
- Vocabulary Catcher 4 – Ordinal Numbers, Price and Number review
- Vocabulary Catcher 5 – School Facilities, Seasons and Weather, and Pets
- Vocabulary Catcher 6 – Clothing, Sports, and Sports Equipment
Learning names of animals is one thing, but learning where they live is another. There are farm, forest, jungle, sea, and zoo animals to categorize and sports, classroom objects, and clothing. Very helpful for autistic children because they can associate the picture with the audio and practice to master the word.
Rather than sitting in front of a video game, my son loves reading and writing. He likes spelling, writing, and reading and reads better than his older brother, most days. We discovered Abitalk’s Sentence Builder free app where my son builds his own sentences. Abitalk has many free phonics, spelling, reading comprehension, and vocabulary apps. He loves it because the words and punctuation are provided and he has to drag-and-drop the sentence in order after it’s read to him. Reinforcing audio motivates him to do more.
Categories and sub-categories are a challenge! Think about it, you just learned the word “caribou” now you must categorize it and understand why it goes in the safari category. We discovered the Things That Go Together app by Grasshopper Apps where kiddos can match items that go together. My son loves this game. He also uses Category Carousel with his speech therapist where he has to place the correct item in the correct category. It uses real pictures of items and easy touch-and-drag actions. You can select two categories at once allowing the child to place items in two categories, making it more of a challenge.
We are finding the iPad is a helpful tool for language building and vocabulary building and with so many apps to choose from, you’ll be sure to find one that suits you and your children.
Photo courtesy of: flickingerbrad