Friday, December 28, 2012

Apps for Autism Program in Eau Claire

Thanks to Dayna Lovell from the L.E.Phillips Memorial Public Library for this guest post!

This fall, Jessi Peterson and Dayna Lovell of Youth Services at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire offered an “Apps for Autism” program for adults.  The program was a great way to use one of our library's unique resources (iPads) to fulfill requirements of participating in an LSTA grant about serving families affected by autism.  We reserved 10 of the library's iPads, and started researching and promoting the program.

We promoted this program through the school district’s special education teachers, autism contacts provided by our library system, the Family Resource Center and other Youth Services contacts.  We used several resources in the selection of apps presented (see list below). Categories from the book, Apps for Autism:  a Must-Have Resource for the Special Needs Community by Jean Lois Brady were used to provide a structure for organizing and presenting the apps. Some of these categories include; Text-to-Speech, Articulation, Vocabulary, Concept Development and Social Skills.

It took several weeks to prepare, researching and testing the apps to come up with our recommended list. This list included the name, cost and a description of each app, and also whether or not the app was universal (able to be utilized on an iPhone as well as iPad).  We downloaded and copied all the apps onto the ten iPads, and were ready to go.

In addition to the iPads, we used a laptop and projector. Some of the apps had YouTube videos to explain and demonstrate them, which we used (judiciously) as part of the presentation.  As apps were presented, their uses were described.  Participants were able to peruse each app as they were presented and welcome to stay after to further explore the apps or ask questions. We also demonstrated how to search for autism/ASD resources on our online catalog. 

This program was well attended and well received, with positive feedback and a request to run similar programs in future. Youth Services will have 6 iPads available in the room for use by parents and children. We anticipate that the list created for this program will be available in whole or in part as part of the menu of apps provided on these iPads.

Resources Used:
Brady, Lois Jean, M.A., CCC-SLP.  Apps for Autism:  a must-have resource for the special needs community. 2011.

Autism Speaks: Autism Apps

Apps for Children with Special Needs

Autism and the iPad Blog

Deals for Autism

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