HackingAutism.com project. You can check out the Hacking Autism idea gallery to see apps people have suggested, and you can still add your own thoughts. As you might imagine, I have a few app ideas of my own -- how about a game based on Stephen Shore's excellent Using a Public Bathroom video? Leo would love it, and it would be fun, educational, and appeal to not just Leo but ten-year-old boys the world over.
I was initially invited to the Hackathon to give a talk, but apparently the developers decided at the last minute that they don't want to hear about why they should be hacking -- they just want to get to the hacking! So I'll be there as a parent resource and as a blogger.
But because I already wrote up the slides for my talk, I'll slap those bullets up here. This is what I want the Hackathoners to know about developing apps for kids like Leo:
How Apps Expand Learning and Leisure Opportunities for People With Autism
- Independent learning and leisure can be a challenge for kids like Leo – and he deserves to play!
- Apps are motivating and dynamic: they have audio, visuals
- Great content and ideas are useless without a straightforward user interface
- No cursor analogy - direct touch screen
- Fine motor ease: stylus, mouse not required
- Replace backpacks and cupboards of activities
- Learn independently, or with support
- Incidental, interstitial learning
- Simplify, focus – break learning down into discrete chunks
- Support literacy but don’t require it
- Avoid nested, cluttered, text-heavy interfaces
- Use reinforcing audio, visual cues
(Adapted from Injini.net's results from beta-testing their very recommended Injini app suite with children with autism)
- To keep children with autism engaged, apps need:
- Visual cues, structure
- Clearly defined, consistent beginnings and endings:
- Support learning
- Ease transition anxiety
|Collage/art app Faces iMake: one of my very favorite, easy-for-Leo-to-use UIs|