Meet Skylar Hogan: artist, new dad, and Chief Creative Officer of the Wonder Bunch World! When designing a world for the Wonder Bunch family to exist and play in, Meghan and Alex weren’t so much...
Life would be so simple and boring if there were easy, one-size-fits-all answers to all of our parenting questions! But there are days that it seems none of the answers are falling into place. We know exactly what you mean, and that’s why we reached out to our team of parents, educators, and experts to find sensory-sensitive apps that engage without overloading!
Children of all ages love to play with apps. Unfortunately, many of these apps aren’t designed with neurodivergence in mind.
The good news is that there are countless apps designed to help neurodiverse children communicate, understand expressions, and even manage a schedule. Keep reading to discover which ones our families like best!
There are loads of apps out there aimed at aiding nonverbal children in building communication skills, but Proloquo2Go has gone the extra mile to be one of the very best for children with autism!
This app helps children formulate messages using different methods, allowing them to communicate in a way that feels right to them. Children are encouraged to use any combination of words and pictures they can to get their message heard. The app’s use of photos is done especially well, proving their understanding of the importance of visual support.
The interface is very intuitive, and the images range from cartoonish to highly realistic. It’s genuinely fun for children to play with, and they will find joy in creating special messages each day!
We love the simplicity of this app, and its ability to help unlock each child’s unique communication potential! Parents of nonverbal and verbally-impaired children often describe how such children have their own language. This app is one of the best ways for these families to express that language in a creative way.
Beyond its excellent design and interface, we love Calm Counter because of the way it simplifies a topic that can be especially frustrating for children with autism: recognizing social cues and emotions. Whether this app is being used by a child on the spectrum, or by a child trying to understand a friend or sibling on the spectrum, users will find themselves feeling less anxious and more ready to face the next steps of their day.
As the name implies, this app is all about helping children find their inner calm. For neurodivergent children, this can be especially difficult because they may not realize when their anger is reaching a breaking point.
That’s why Calm Counter helps children discover when they need to take a break in order to calm down. Helping them recognize their own triggers and warning signs can go a long way towards managing a variety of anger issues.
On top of that, Calm Counter helps children practice the art of calming down. Giving children a tool to help them identify and then rectify their emotions can be an enormous help for families.
For many families, a great concern is how to teach their children to understand different social situations.
That’s where Peppy Pals Sammy Helps Out comes in! Many families love this app because it helps children develop better emotional intelligence, and a deeper understanding of empathy.
Unlike many of the apps on this list, this works best if the child plays with a parent or teacher present. That’s largely because of the built-in discussion prompts which are intended to spark fruitful conversations between children and adults.
This next app comes with some equipment requirements, but if you have an iPhone (or iPad) and your child has an Apple Watch, then the Children with Autism: A Visual Schedule app is awesome!
Parents and caregivers are able to create a schedule for what the child needs to do each day. This may range from chores they need to complete to an organized list of their daily routine.
The app’s Visual Schedule is what truly shines. Parents can use built-in icons and photos, or upload their own in order to create a schedule that their child will respond to.
Between the visual elements and Apple Watch alerts, this app is a great way to help your little one stay on track!
We love how many of the apps on this list are great for helping children learn! We especially love Kid in Story Book Maker because it does so while engaging in your child’s creativity!
We connected with this app because it helps children craft their own unique narratives. Children are natural storytellers, and this app draws on those natural instincts to help them create interesting characters and adventures of their own.
Your child will learn to use those stories to play out different social interactions. For example, they can explore how a visit with their doctor might go long before they leave the house!
This app is great for enhancing a child’s social skills and empathy, and for helping children prepare for and understand potential changes in their daily routine.
You’ll notice that Birdhouse for Autism is a little different from other apps on our list. That’s because it is designed more for parents and caretakers than for the children themselves.
This app allows you to collect real-time information about your child’s different behaviors and activities. And like any good analytics app, it can offer more insight as you put in more info over time!
It may not be the most entertaining app on this list, but for parents, knowledge and support for our children’s needs is the closest we get to a party some days. This app can be a truly valuable tool, helping parents identify certain patterns of behavior and make their changes accordingly.
When families are overwhelmed, it can be tough to see the forest for the trees when it comes to your child’s behaviors. This app helps you track what works and what doesn’t for your one-of-a-kind child! This can also help give your support team a clearer picture of who your child is outside of the office.
Our little ones love feeling connected, especially when we’re apart! Now, more than ever, children want to know where the people they know are, how close and how far. Life 360 allows you and your child to follow all connected devices, and can even send alerts when they arrive or leave their destination. Your child can track as you drive to work, the store, and back to them, allowing them to anticipate their day better. This also allows you to track them, taking a lot of the anxiety out of a keenness to wander!
You, your child, and all connected users will also be able to communicate via the app safely, with identity theft protection and filters to keep them safe. Emergency SOS signals can send your location to designated family members, or to emergency services if they are ever needed.
From staying connected, to connecting with help, Life 360 has you covered full circle!
We reached out to the team at Autism Action Partnership to see if they had any suggestions to add to our list, and they delivered! We were connected with a page of beautifully curated apps, organized by skills developed. All apps have been screened and approved by parents in the Autism community. We were so lucky to connect with Executive Director Justin Dougherty and everyone at AAP! Visit https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/best-autism-apps/ for a frequently updated list.
Finding these apps to make your family’s autism journey a little easier was the least we could do for our warrior parents! But we aren’t happy doing the least we can do, and that’s why we are always looking for more ways to support children and their families.
Our Wonder Bunch World is designed to include all of the children we love and care about in the real world, and we want to be sure that every child feels welcomed here. We rely on parents like you to reach out to us with ideas for how we can be of more help. Be sure to wander through our world, and Contact Us if there is something we can do to make your world more Wonder-ful!