Wednesday, August 21, 2013

AUTISM DADDY'S REVIEW OF AUTISMATE IPAD APP



I was asked a few months back to review a communication IPad app called Autismate.



I said yes because I haven't really done reviews before and thought it might be interesting to start doing them...



But then I put it off for weeks partially because we were going thru a lot at home with the king...but mainly I put it off because I felt it wasn't an app that would be appropriate for my son Kyle.



Unfortunately most of these types of apps are still way over Kyle's head who's still working on PECS with one "desired" item & one "undesired" item.



And the types of drawings that are in these apps mean nothing to Kyle.



He has a hard time generalizing so a drawing of teeth brushing will mean little to him; a pic may mean a little more, a pic of him doing the activity would probably work best of all.



So I assumed this app would be way over Kyle's head and mainly for that reason I put it off for weeks...



But I promised these guys a review and I figured I would review it with many of my readers and their kids in mind because I'm sure many of your kids would find this app appropriate.



So I downloaded the app from the iTunes Store and starting playing around with it.



And it's pretty darn cool!! And it uses the iPad technology to the fullest. And while it’s still over my son Kyle’s head right now...it’s a lot closer than any other app I’ve seen before.



Here’s why...



Yes it has all the grids and PECS style pics and sentence building features like proloquo2go does... (but this one is $70 cheaper...)



But this one does a whole lot more. Everything is based on locations. It comes preloaded with pics of a house and in that house are pics of a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.



And on each of those pics are “hotspots”. You touch the fridge and a pic of an inside of the fridge will pop up.  You touch the sink and it will say “I have to wash my hands” or will show a video of a kid washing his hands.






And all that is great and different, especially the video part, but what really sets this app apart for me is the fact that you can take your own pics of your own house, and your own kitchen, bathroom, etc. Then you can record your own voice saying the phrases...and record video of your own kid (or yourself) doing the task.



For a kid like my son who has a big problem generalizing, this is HUGE to be able to have a communication app that will have pics & videos & voices that he is completely familiar with.



You have to be familiar with Ipad functionality to customize everything and it will take some time, but the app is pretty intuitive. And once you set up your “home” and all the rooms in it, you can then move on to other locations...school, Grandma’s house, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and customize all your pics, videos, phrases, from these locations.





You can also mark the GPS location of all your places so when you open the app at a particular location (and that location has wifi) Autismate will recognize where you are and the closest location to the current GPS position will appear.



That’s what I mean about using the capabilities of the Ipad to the fullest.



A few weeks ago, the wife and I slowly began setting it up, taking pics of the rooms in my house. I wasn’t thrilled with the quality of the pics I was getting from the iPad camera (not the app’s fault) so I grabbed my digital camera took the widest, brightest pic of each of the rooms in my house and then I downloaded into my iPad.



We used these pics, with her voice, and iPhone video of me doing some of the tasks (like brushing my teeth). We did all of this while Kyle was asleep. And she & I had a blast, goofing on each other as we were recording the voices & shooting the videos. (if only you could keep the bloopers / outtakes!)



In the morning we showed it to Kyle and while there weren’t any miracles, it looked like he recognized the pic of his bathroom, the sound of mom’s voice, and the videos of dad. We got a couple of smirks from him before he pulled the ipad from us and put on an episode of Dora the Explorer.



But its baby steps for Kyle and we saw a sliver of something with this app that we’ve never seen with any other communication apps. Our school district actually “bought” us the proloquo2go app last year and it’s just been sitting there barely used for a year...but this one I really can see the potential for Kyle to “get it”



Ok so to finalize my review and make it more “official” here’s some other things that the Autismate app features...



--Visual scenes can be personalized to each user (Scene Based AAC)

--Full Sentence Builder (Grid-based AAC)

--Video Modeling

--Photo Schedule with Timer (very useful for kids who need routine and a visual schedule)

--Visual Stories

--Content Library – More content is always being added and will be accessible to existing users.

--GPS Enabled – Use GPS to tie certain scenes to your physical location

--Capable of Building Multiple User Profiles (could be used by a teacher and customized for a few different students)

--Over 10,000 Symbols included



But as you can tell it’s the personalization that has me the most excited.



AutisMate is available on the iTunes Store for $149.99. That may seem like a hefty price, but it’s within line of other autism therapy apps, like the $219.99 Proloquo2Go. It’s also way cheaper than the old, pre-iPad therapy / AAC machines, which used to cost up to $15,000.



And if you are not sure if Autismate is for you, you can now get a free LITE version of the app by going to
http://autismate.com/PressReleases/AutisMate-LITE-Learning-App-Adults-Children-with-Autism/ 


So there you go, there’s my first review. What did you all think? How’d I do?

15 comments:

  1. This is awesome! Thanks for the review!

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  2. Great information from someone who would actually use it. I think I'll look into it myself...

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  3. Ty. I will look into this one for my 3 yr old.

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  4. Great review, I've never been convinced that our son would be able to use Proloquo2go but District wishes to go with that one, with the customized videos it sounds alot closer to what our son would "get" as well, he shares many similarities with your son. Definately worth looking into. Thank you.

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  5. Thanks for your opinion & sharing all that you do :)

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  6. sounds like it might be worth a looksie.

    thanks so much!

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  7. There are free apps that allow you to add photos and your own voice (Say HI! AAC is one.)

    My son is also making progress with Grid Player on iOS and EasyAAC on Android.

    There's no reason to pay $150 if your child isn't capable of using the PECS stuff yet.

    My son uses the talking photos sections exclusively. Mostly to ask for food and drink. Grid Player on iOS and TapToTalk also both have PECS style sections.

    Anyway, this programs can all serve as intros to the more full featured and expensive options.

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  8. Good review! Will check it out!

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  9. Good review, Would like to get for my kids.

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  10. Their customer support is great too. There's a feature where you can back up your rooms to the iTunes cloud. After a big update, very early in their development, we lost our backup and our app reset itself. They responded to my email really quickly and started working on it fast. They even sent us a $25 Amazon gift card for our troubles and the time lost.

    Great company. Oh, and it was created by a man for his brother, so they really "get" it.

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  11. We offer affordable yet professional bespoke website and software solutions to businesses Ipad App Developers Leeds in the Leeds area and throughout the UK

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  12. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

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  13. very nice information i m very like it
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    iPhone App Development ::: iOS App Development ::: Android Application Development

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  14. great, informative, concise review. thanks

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  15. Hey, we too admire fantastic work of AutisMate! Great tool, that can help autistic children to use their full potential.
    At DrOmnibus we too have a goal of making everyday struggle and therapy easier. Would you consider giving our tool a shot? Right now we offer 5 games designed by therapists (and more are on the way!), built-in system to track child's' progress and (but they're not obligatory) unique features introduced specifically for therapists! Feel free to visit dromnibus.com :)

    ReplyDelete

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