Recently, I upgraded from my rather embarrassingly ancient mobile phone – so ancient, in fact, that it was barely one model up from the original brick with buttons and extendable aerial. I’d accumulated so many unused upgrade credits from my provider over the years that when I finally decided to cash them in, I was told that short of an iPhone (awww!) I could ‘afford’ an upgrade to just about any type of phone I wanted. So that is how I’m now the owner of a HTC Wildfire complete with Android Platform which, I was informed, allows me to download the many applications designed by Android to be used through mobile phones.
It might come as no surprise that I’m really not cell phone savvy, so I admit that I felt a little intimidated by it at first. For a couple of weeks I did little else with it than eye it warily on its perch on my kitchen dresser. Lately though, we’ve been getting to know each other a little better and I’ve been browsing the wonders of the Android Market Place… and what a wonderful Aladdin’s Cave of treasures it’s turned out to be!
Gone are the days of prohibitive costs for various assistive communication devices, Palm PC’s etc. An Android enabled phone has the potential to provide just about everything useful, all through one easily portable handset. I’m told that Android has not yet quite caught up with the range of applications available through iPhone or iPad – but still, it’s a darned sight cheaper than either of those! A browse through the many apps on offer turned up an amazing array of resources, ranging from assistive communication apps, token economy or visual schedule systems to motivating and educational games. What’s more, many of them are FREE and those that do cost something start at just a pound or two!
So, to get started, here’s a selection of a few links to some of the apps I’ve found at the Market Place, which have earned great reviews - but there are so many more if you browse the further suggestions down the left-hand side of each app page.
Tap to Talk : FREE
Description: TapToTalk turns your Android phone or tablet into an AAC device. Give your non-verbal child a voice. TapToTalk turns an Android device into an affordable augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. Tap a picture - TapToTalk speaks. Kids think it's fun.
Model Me Going Places : FREE
Description: Model Me Going Places™ is a great visual teaching tool for helping your child learn to navigate challenging locations in the community. Each location contains a photo slideshow of children modeling appropriate behavior.
Voice4u : £18.18
Description: Voice4u, is a revolutionary picture based AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) application that helps individuals to express their feeling, thought, actions and things they need. It is a perfect solution for learning and communication for autistic individuals and people around them. With it, you will never have to guess at an individuals' wants and needs and will break down the barriers of communication for individuals with special needs.
EasyKid Tokens FREE
Description: A token board that's handy wherever an opportunity to teach a desirable behavior arises!A common teaching tool for behavior development and modification, including ABA. Great for young children as well as kids on the autistic spectrum, asperger's, PDD NOS, Down syndrome or other kinds of developmental delay.
Description: This is an application to allow visual schedules, choice lists, activity timers, electronic PECS cards and the production of physical PECS cards (Picture Exchange Communication System) to be created and replayed on any Android powered device thereby giving the flexibility to create a visual schedule / choice list when out and about for the day using images from the image library, captured from the device camera or downloaded from the Internet (so millions of images at your disposal). Images are all supported by speech.
Kids Shape Puzzle Lite: Free
Description: An educational and entertaining game for preschoolers with beautiful graphics. This app is now optimized for both phones and tablets. Your child will love this simple, entertaining "edugame" for preschool-aged kids, and learn from it, because it's from Intellijoy. You see, at Intellijoy, we specialize in educational games with the fun built right into them.