One in 68 Children has Autism

QSAC's blog – Technology » Technology

Battling the winter blues? How visual supports can help!

February 16, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

It’s the dead of winter and for those of you living in the Northeast in particular, it’s been one winter! During these long, cold days it’s a good idea to have a snow day plan for you and your child with special needs. Consider the use of schedules and visual supports to help both YOU and your child when inclement weather keeps you indoors.  A basic schedule would include some of the things that need to get done paired with things you know your child would like to do. Set up your schedule so the fun activity follows the “chore”.  For example “First we brush our teeth”, then we “_______” (fill in fun activity here).  If your child reads he/she or you can write this out. If your child is better with pictures, it can look like this.  The picture of the activity can be drawn, copied, pasted etc in the corresponding box.






If you have an older child or a child that can manage a longer list, try a checklist. You can add a sticker, smiley face etc once each task is completed.   Here is an example.




In November, QSAC released a free ibook specifically designed to support families.  In this engaging, interactive ibook, Chapter 3 is dedicated to helping families manage home life specifically through the use of visual supports.  There are many examples of visuals in the chapter,  as well as apps and websites to help you organize the worst of snow days.  If you have an Apple computer or Ipad click to download for free


Don’t have an Ipad?  No worries.  Check out another great website with FREE printable resources such as calendars, sticker and job charts is


Take a deep breath…. winter can’t last forever.  In the meantime use these free resources to help get you through those snow days.  Chances are you will keep them in place because they really do help.





January 19, 2015 3:00 pm Published by


The task of searching for wandering or lost individuals with Autism and other developmental and cognitive conditions is a serious responsibility. Without powerful procedures and devices, searches usually involve a large amount of people and expenses. More importantly, because time is so essential in this matter, every minute lost increases the risk of dreadful consequences.

The primary mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide prompt response to save lives, prevent injuries and bring people safely back home. Project Lifesaver combines state of the art radio technology and a highly trained Deputy Sheriff team. Project Lifesaver users wear a personalized transmitter bracelet which every second emits a tracking signal.

QSAC will be hosting a presentation by The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office for parents who would like to learn more about this device. Project Lifesaver is currently available in Suffolk County but coming soon to other NYS jurisdictions. The date of the presentation is still to be determined. Stay tuned!

New Resource for Parents of Children with Autism

December 11, 2014 5:11 pm Published by

Receiving a diagnosis of Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a life altering event; a family’s hopes, dreams and aspirations for their child come crashing to a halt with those few words. Working in a preschool program we see families in varying states of understanding, acceptance and yes denial of this difficult news. This spring, QSAC received an anonymous grant to create a resource for just those families.

unnamedThrough this grant I had to the opportunity to work with Melissa Peltz to create a multi-touch, interactive ebook, published on the iBooks Store.  This ebook incorporates curated apps, videos, and interactive content that highlights topics families told us were important. These resources are meant to provide support for families who might be waiting to receive services or to supplement existing services.


Throughout the book, practical tips and solutions are provided in family-friendly language and cover topics including: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), assessment and intervention (important before beginning any teaching program), home routines, socialization, functional communication, pre-academic/academic skills, and managing problem behaviors.

 The book was launched in November and is free on the iBooks Store. We hope that you take a look, find utility in it and share it.

You can find it here:

QSAC Releases New Multi-Touch Book for Parents and Teachers Supporting Children with Autism

November 21, 2014 7:32 pm Published by

QSAC (Quality Services for the Autism Community), a 38-year old New York City-based nonprofit serving children and adults with autism, has released its first book for iPad for supporting parents of children with autism. Bridging the Gap: A Curriculum for Supporting your Young Learner with Autism (, is currently available as a Multi-Touch Book on the iBooks Store. The book is free on the iBooks Store. Bridging the Gap provides parents with a resource for supporting their preschooler/toddler with autism. Gina Feliciano, Ph.D., BCBA-D, SAS, Director of QSAC’s Preschool, and Melissa Peltz, M.S.Ed, authored the book.

In addition to background information regarding autism, parents of preschoolers and toddlers will find interactive features including helpful videos and featured iOS apps that will help them support their children in improving skills in key domains including: Communication, socialization, academic skills among others. Parents can also test their knowledge regarding autism at the end of each chapter with a brief interactive quiz. The book will also be of interest to educators, behavior analysts, pediatricians, and others who work with and support children with autism.

CoverFinalDr. Feliciano and Ms. Peltz carefully vetted the inclusion of a number of apps, some are free and others require a purchase through the App Store, which will help parents to provide their children with engaging and educational tools. Featured apps include Toby PlayPad, Proloquo2Go, Autism Apps, ABA Flash Cards, Behavior Tracker Pro, and many others. Each app is featured alongside supporting material that has been written by Dr. Feliciano and Ms. Peltz regarding which skill areas the app supports.

“This new Multi-Touch Book is a testament to QSAC’s commitment to the families we serve and to the greater community. Dr. Feliciano, Ms. Peltz, and the creative team behind the book, have created an engaging resource that we’re confident parents, teachers, and others who work with children with autism will find to be helpful. Whether confronting a recent autism diagnosis or seeking a resource for helping their child build critical skills,Bridging the Gap will be a valuable tool for parents,” said Gary Maffei, M.P.A., QSAC’s executive director.

The Multi-Touch Book can be downloaded on the iBooks Store by visiting

About the Authors

Gina Feliciano is the Director of the Preschool at QSAC and has been in the position since 2012. Gina is responsible for the overall operation of the preschool. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (Doctoral level) as well as a certified New York State Special Education Teacher and School Administrator. Gina received her Doctorate (Ph.D.) from Columbia University in Special Education and Behavior Disorders in 2006. Her previous professional experience includes being appointed as Director of Clinical Services, Director of ABA Services, and years training staff and education professionals as a Behavioral Consultant. Gina has held academic positions as an adjunct professor at Hunter College, Pace University, and Queens College teaching courses on behavior management, classroom management and education psychology.

Melissa Peltz has been working with children since 2007. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Queens College in Elementary Education and Sociology and her master’s degree at Queens College in Early Childhood Special Education specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Since 2011, she has taught a diverse group of children, including those with disabilities in various public, private, and special educational environments. She is also a member of a team that was instrumental in reforming a school supporting children with autism in Beijing, China and is currently in the process of publishing a book on evidence-based practices to be used at the school.

Avonte’s tragic death highlights the need for better tracking and training

February 6, 2014 10:04 am Published by

The tragic case of Avonte Oquendo  prompted Justice Department officials this week to expand a program to help parents obtain tracking devices for children with autism.  Avonte, a 14-year-old with autism, was found dead three-months after running away from school. Avonte, who did not speak, was at school in Queens, NY when he ran off on October 4, 2013 at about 12:30 p.m.

The announcement Wednesday means that federal grant funds,which already cover tracking devices for adults with Alzheimers, will also apply to children with autism. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had requested the funds, said the devices were available immediately for parents who wanted them. Avonte’s Law, which Schumer proposed in November, would authorize federal funds for the purchase of tracking devices as well as training in their use. Each device costs about $85, plus a few dollars in monthly fees, the Senator said, adding that hundreds of families with autistic children already have used privately funded tracking devices.

A 2012 study by the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore found that children between the ages of 4 and 7 with autism were four times more likely to wander away than children of the same age without autism. The study, based on a survey of parents of children with autism, found that 49% of the children had tried to run off at least once after they reached age 4. This same study indicated  56% of parents stating eloping is one of the most stressful behaviors they encounter while caring for their children with autism.

While tracking devices are  important, educating and training staff who work with individuals with autism is imperative. Avonte’s wandering behavior is called eloping, which means he left a safe location without permission. Eloping is a potentially dangerous behavior that has led to 22 deaths in just 20 months between 2009 and 2011, according to the National Autism Association.

Some children with autism do not understand the spoken word, therefore may not respond to their name when called. Some children cannot speak without support, so they may not be able to ask for what they want and need without augmentative communication, such as PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) or using sign language . If a child elopes without support, or in the case of using sign language, encounters someone who does not speak the language, it could be incredibly difficult or impossible for the child to communicate any personal information, which would ultimately lead to his/her safe return home.

Many children with autism do not have an age-appropriate understanding or awareness of safety procedures, such as checking for cars before crossing the street, walking within a cross walk or avoiding strangers.

All of these stress the importance of addressing the issues surrounding elopement behaviors. All involved in the care and education of children with autism must be specifically trained in keeping children safe as a means to prevent further tragedy.


Below are some links with helpful information.

The Big Red Safety Box is a resource created by the National Autism Association for The AWAARE (Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response and Education) Collaboration.




Some considerations when working on improving communication deficit

November 18, 2013 2:21 pm Published by

Children and adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder have persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts as one of the symptoms. This impairment is usually manifested in lack of social-emotional reciprocity, poor integration of verbal and nonverbal communication and difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts. Delays in communication usually vary in severity ranging from monotone speech about preferred topic to a total absence of verbal communication. Often individuals with ASD do not effectively perform the single most important task of communication and language, and that is expressing their wants and needs (i.e. making requests, exhibiting mands) and, as a result, they have very little control over what happens to them in their daily lives.

Further, multiple researches has shown that communication impairment is correlated with an increased risk of challenging behavior and reduced opportunities for community involvement and therefore it is understandable why a huge amount of intervention research has focused on developing successful procedures for improving communication skills of individuals with ASD.

 In most cases, the traditional developmental model of language represents the basis for teaching communication and language skills, however in this model, the primary unit of communication and language is the word and words, signs, pictures, or symbols are taught without much regard to the circumstances present during instruction. For example, some expressive language is taught as “labels” (“car”, “table”, “spoon”), some as “answers to questions or responses to statements” (“more”, “fine”, “please”, “hello, my name is___ “) and some as “generalized requests” (“eat”, “drink”, and “break”). For children and adults with ASD, the words, signs, or pictures they learn in one circumstance, don’t tend to occur in other circumstances without additional instruction. In many cases, this result in little to no expressive language or communication responses that are useful or important to the person, in other words, the person does not learn how to make specific requests (i.e. “no mands”).

Very often, this also results in problem behaviors. Individuals begin to communicate by screaming, dropping to the floor, hitting, spitting, kicking, biting, etc. and, if these behaviors result in what the individual wants, even intermittently, these same behaviors function as either specific or generalized requests (“problem mands”) and tend to occur again and again…Then, usually a clinician is asked to conduct a functional assessment in order to develop a plan to reduce the frequency of the problem behaviors and replace these behaviors with more appropriate alternatives. Often, these “replacement” behaviors are either a limited array of receptive skills (following directions or completing assigned tasks) or “generalized requests” for attention, escape, or access to categories of preferred items and activities (i.e. eat, drink, play, more, please, etc.)

When the only “replacement” behaviors are receptive skills, we are teaching poor speakers to be better listeners and when the “replacement” behaviors are generalized requests, we are teaching poor speakers to be non-specific speakers.

Neither is adequate…

Ideal practice should include teaching individuals to make specific requests (SPECIFIC MANDS) and expanded array of receptive skills (following directions, completing assigned tasks, waiting, sharing, and accepting no) (GENERALIZED COMPLIANCE).

In other words we should be teaching poor speakers to be effective, specific speakers who have more control over what happens in their daily lives while also teaching them to be good listeners in a wide variety of commonly occurring situations. Under these circumstances we could expect to see that when individuals have more control and power over what happens in their daily lives they tend to exhibit far lower rate of problem behavior.

Nevena Savic, MA


Frustrated with Your iPad/Tablet? Problem Solving Issues When Using Your Touch Device with Your Child

October 29, 2012 4:21 pm Published by

While the benefits of using an Ipad or tablet with individuals with Autism are many, it also comes with a number of problems and frustrations as well.  Here are some common complaints I have heard and some ways to resolve them.
1. He doesn’t demonstrate an interest in the Ipad/tablet!


It’s important to keep in mind that some things are not for everyone and while it may seem impossible, there are individuals who just may not embrace this new technology…at all.  Before you spend the money, it is worth the while to try it out with your child.  This can be easily done at a store that allows potential buyers to play with the devices (the Ipad store has a specified area for children with child friendly apps loaded).  You can also check with friends or family members that may own one or check if the school has any touch technology that can be evaluated with your child. 

If you have already purchased a device and you want your child to make use of it, then consider pairing the device with other preferred items or activities.  Have your child use/play/explore the device for a short duration of time and then provide a preferred item or activity.  In addition, load your device with apps that are likely to appeal to your child’s interests.  Download apps that have your child’s favorite character, music, sounds or movies. 
2. He likes to play with it but does not use any of the apps functionally or appropriately!


If the device is simply being used as a reinforcer (i.e. access to the device is used to increase a specified behavior), then the device should be limited in its use and should be provided contingent on that specific behavior.  If the device is used to keep your child occupied and is provided at any time YOU NEED TIME, that’s ok too.   It isn’t uncommon nor in my opinion, detrimental, to use the IPad/tablet to occupy your child for a short period of time in order to have some time for yourself.  However, be sure to supervise your child’s play and ensure password protection is in place to avoid accidental purchases and inappropriate internet use.  Keep in mind that if your child is using the device for easy access to just movies and music, there are much cheaper alternatives out there without putting a dent in your wallet such as Mp3/video players. 

But if you are expecting your child to use the apps functionally and appropriately, it’s important to keep in mind that touch devices are tools that need to be taught.  Taking some time on a daily basis to demonstrate the different uses of the device will help your child learn how to use it. It may be helpful to start with apps that your child will most likely be interested in.  For example, teaching your child to play their favorite songs, to locate the video app to watch movies, to touch a picture to make a cool sound…etc.
3. He loves the Ipad/tablet so much that when it’s time to give it up, he goes into a full blown tantrum!


This is probably one of the most common complaints I hear about.  For some, the problem is so severe, whole complicated plans are in place just to get the Ipad/tablet away without the child going into a tantrum.  While some may think this problem is exclusive to the introduction of their Ipad/tablet, it probably would occur if any highly preferred item or activity is removed.  While visual cues, timers and pre-warnings may be helpful in minimizing or alleviating a tantrum, learning to give it up may be the most important skill that needs to be taught first.  This may be as simple as providing a preferred item or activity the moment the device is taken away but some children have a much more difficult time and can engage in severe behaviors the moment you even say “time’s up”.  Teaching to give up the device may need to be broken down further into easier manageable targets for your child (i.e. just allowing you to touch the device when you ask for it to allowing you to hold it for a few seconds and returning it back, to playing with it for a few minutes and returning it back…etc.).  The important part of this procedure is ensuring that your child is aware that they can always get it back at some point either through earning it or at specified times.  Introducing systems like a token economy or using visual cues may also prove useful in this situation.

4.  My child wants the Ipad all the time and if he can’t have it, he will have a behavior!


Some parents and professionals are adamant about removing the Ipad/tablet all together and will go through great lengths to keep it out of view when the child is present.  I find this to be problematic since it doesn’t teach the child to tolerate when they can’t have it nor does it make sense if this is potentially a big reinforcer and should be used to maximize the child’s learning.  Some parents may find it easier to just purchase an additional device specifically for their child’s use only.  While that may be a quick and temporary fix, it doesn’t fix the issue when the device needs to be repaired or if the battery runs out or if the device just simply can’t be used during the time.  Not only is it important to teach your child to give up the device when asked but it’s just as important to teach your child to accept when they can’t have it.  This can be taught in two parts; teaching your child to accept an alternative when they can’t have the device (initially, something comparable like a computer or MP3 player to something less comparable and not as highly preferred like coloring paper and crayons) as well as teaching delays to receiving an alternative item (while we always want to offer an alternative sometimes even an alternative isn’t available).

5. He keeps going into the other apps instead of using it for communication.
If the device is being used mainly for communication purposes, then the device should be used ONLY for communication, at least initially. In other words, he should not be taught the many different uses of the device until he learns to rely on it for communication and can do so consistently.  Some communication apps may have “locks” in place that keeps your child from accessing any other app unless a password is inputted. 
There are many issues that parents and professionals are finding with the use of the Ipad or tablet, so before purchasing one, it’s important to identify what you intend to use it for and weigh the benefits over its disadvantages.  Investing in a touch device for your child may result in more effort than one might have expected.  If you decide that the investment is worth it, remember to also consult with your school, teacher and/or behavior consultant to help maximize its use.    

Decisions, Decisions…Tablets or Touchscreen Computers?

September 25, 2012 6:24 pm Published by
Figuring out how to invest your money in technology for a loved one or student with special needs can be a tough decision, especially with a growing number of new products on the market. 
My preference and recommendation has always been the iPad, specifically the new iPad “3” for those fortunate to get their hands on one. Apple made many improvements with the new operating system, including “Guided Access,” which allows the learner to stay on task and focus on certain areas on the screen (controlled by the caregiver)**. Overall, I would recommend tablet technology (in any format) over traditional touch screen, tower computer-based technology. Windows tablet technology, as written by Mariann Lai earlier this year is also be a very viable option. The choice also depends on what the family can afford to pay, family and individual expectations and what type of portability the individual needs. Touch screen technology is stationary, a tablet can be used virtually anywhere, with the right Internet plan, of course. 
If we take a look back at the evolution of these platforms, touch screen technology was the prerequisite most tablet technologies. A touch screen monitor paired with computer tower made it easier for an individual with fine motor deficits to navigate the screen in front of them, but that seems to be where the benefits ends. The individual still needs to know how to navigate Windows, know what, and where to click not to mention the install programs the computer with software (Many of us know what it’s like to try and install a printer!). This was noted with our own touch screen monitors in the school, many of the children had a hard time making the connection between the mouse, and the movement on the screen. With touch screen monitors, the movement was brought right to the tips of their fingers. 
There are still many things an individual can do with a touch screen monitor only, but navigating the Internet, browsing, and many other things are so much easier to teach/learn on a tablet device. With tablets, there is also some degree of ease with installing software, it is much easier for a parent to download and install apps.
Tablets have “built in” touch technology paired with flexible, specific software (apps) pinpoint target skills which is easier to locate and download right into the device. There is a growing “pool” of applications specifically suited for children and adults with special needs. We see every day that our students have an easier time navigating the Internet, browsing their favorite websites, and teachers have an easier time teaching them how to use the tablet appropriately. There are more options for exposure to educational, fine motor, communication interfaces with tablet technologies and plain o’l motivation for the learner to that far surpass what a traditional tower and touch screen monitor can provide. 
We all know how quickly companies come out with the newest and latest gizmos, but you can get a tablet on many different budgets. Many 1st and 2nd generation IPads are selling for much less than their new counterparts and are compatible with most educational apps. 
My final recommendation to families is never veer away from the idea that technology cannot replace our fundamental teaching techniques and procedures, but technology (tablets) adds something different to our experience. It adds to quality of life. 

**Guided access- Scroll down to Accessibility:

“Pick One!” A Brief Probe of iPad App Preferences

July 16, 2012 6:00 pm Published by

It was time for us to assess some of the many questions being asked about the implementation of iPads in the classroom starting with a basic question. Out of all the Apps that we have, which ones are selected most frequently by students and staff during classroom use? I generally write about technology, not just to be trendy, but because it becomes a great part of some of the clinical conversations. Some relevant questions raised are, What is the functionality of these devices? Which apps are worthwhile, or do iPads in general cause more problem behavior for our children. All of these questions loom. But the basic outcome which is agreed upon is that we are glad we have them, and we need to work hard towards finding their use for our kids. Perhaps just like the intoduction of any other past electronics. They never replace the core of our instruction mearly, they help to provide motivation and increase student attending in some way.

But to start it all off, which applications, regardless of the platform, do children prefer over others? We hand our iPads in the mornings, and again in the afternoon, so students have the opportunity to use them at different times during the day. The school is starting to work towards how to address specific questions regarding academic implemenation, generalization and it’s use as a communication device. Current research in this area is still brand new too, we we’d like to answer the questions, “Which Apps could my child be using ?”

“Use” is quite a subjective term, as we can observe some students who “use” the iPads for fun and games, and “use” for functional academics, or recieve it as a reinforcer during Discrete Trial Teaching (like in our group lessons or activities). We have also observed the “use” of the iPad for stereotypic behavior (Re-arranging Apps, scrolling thru photos, opening and closing Apps repetitively, not “using” it appropriately)

So I guess all we can do right now is look at what the children are gravitating towards to assess preferences.

A list was created of the applications used on the Day School’s iPads. A probe was conducted on each individual App synced on the iPads to determine which were being opened most often in the classrooms. By double tapping the home button, you can see a list of Apps which were open during a specific time period. Prior to giving out the iPads to classrooms, this section was cleared, and upon returned checked to see which apps were used during that time. This was tirelessly repeated for 3 days. Data was collected on the number of times each App was opened across all 15 first generation iPads. During the probe we had to discounted some selections because it was observed that some children may erroneously tap on certain Apps, although these were included in the probe, any App opened less-than 3 times was considered insignificant, thus non-preferred. This is considered a type of free operant preference assessment which showed us some useful information. Use, right now leans towards strong motivation for academic programming and leisure skills (watching videos, or playing games), and an indication of preference level for certain application outside the realm of instruction. Later questions may lead us to assess implementing Low-preferred Apps with Hi-preferred Apps and games.

Although the list below indicates the most popular in the school right now, it’s a glimpse into what they are being used for and next steps for assessment. It’s also one of many probes we will be conducting to assess the level of preference for the Apps which we are using!

Many of the apps listed below can be found using “Autism Apps.” This can be downloaded using ITUNES: Specifically stated this app was created as a resource for families and anyone who is looking for hard to find apps for children with special needs. It’s an extensive list of which applications are being used for iPadand Apple products. This application will direct families/clinicians towards appropriate apps for their children with special needs separated across 30 categories.

Highest Preferred Selections of the Brief Probe and Brief Descriptions:

Mobicip Internet Browsing App-This app allows safe secure internet browsing and will block out any inappropriate videos or content on YouTube or web pages automatically. Many of our students use this to access YouTube or their favorite websites. Setting preferences is easy on Mobicip replaces Safari and YouTube apps, and they must be turned off to use Mobicip. YouTube and internet browsing is highly motivating, but also many videos and pages display inappropriate content even if a child is not trying to look for it. This is the only easy-to-use filter tool out there right now. The cost of this app is worth the benefit.

I Heart Radio– Basic radio stations we’ve all heard of this, great for motivation for children who enjoy current and popular music.

Photos– Students enjoy scrolling thru photos which are pre-installed on the iPad. This can easily be done using ITUNES. Students can identify people places and things which you choose to pre-load.

MAPS– This was a more surprising selection, but further questioning of the teachers told us that students enjoy moving around the maps, looking at different areas and words, and it’s zoom and pan features.

Touch and Say (emotions): Even though right now it’s a simple app for teaching emotions I predict it will be more popular than Elmo. This series of applications from is the next generation of children’s toys which will eventually be everyone’s favorite holiday gift. Based on research from Center for Autism in Pittsburg, This series of applications will have an interactive interface that all children can use. It will come with a “stuff animal” animatronics dolls.

Stack the States, Stack the Countries- Great Geography app. Fun, Interactive, a great hit.

ABC Tracer: Excellent for children who are starting out with basic handwriting. Allows the child to trace letters and associate them with words.

Angry Birds: Enough said, kids love this game.

ABA Flashcards Series/ABA Receptive ID: These flashcards are useful across many age ranges. Fun photos, audio feedback addresses multiple domain areas such as Actions, Foods, Shapes, Numbers, and many other areas.

Feel Electric- Helps Identify emotions, with an interactive interface!

Here is the list based in order of selection during the 3 day probe. I encourage you to research each application; many of them are free or inexpensive to purchase. We encourage you to explore, and investigate them and share them with your friends. If you find new ones, please share them with us too!!! Enjoy.

# of times selectioned
Mobicip-Internet Software/Youtube /Browsing
I Heart Radio
Stack the Countries
Photos-Looking at Installed Pictures
Touch and Say
Stack the States
ABC Tracer
Angry Birds HD FREE
Angry Birds RIO HD FREE
ABA Flashcards
Feel Electric
Angry Birds Lite
Mega Run
My Food-Nutrition Facts
Garage Band
Starfall ABC’s
Hand Drum
Sight Words Free
ASL Dictionary
BobbleWrite HD
DTT Colors
ABA Receptive ID Fruits and Nuts
ABA Receptive ID- Science
Cat Game
Google Earth
Green Eggs and Ham
Numbers Free
VP Light
3 Pigs Light
ABA Flashcards-Actions
ABA Flashcards-Emotions
ABA Flashcards-Fruits
ABA Receptive ID Eat
ASL- American Sign Language
Colors Tool
DT Numbers Light
Farm Touch
Going Places
I WriteWords Lite  (IWW)
Jumbo Calculator
My Sunny Day
Spelling Bee-Free
STL Pro 2012
Tap To Talk
Whiteboard Lite

Who needs an iPad? Alternatives to the iPad for your child with Autism

March 19, 2012 5:02 pm Published by
If you thought that the iPad is the only device available for your child with autism and you’re prepared to stand on line for hours for the new iPad 3, you may want to take a moment to consider some of the comparable Android tablets in the market. Whether the expense of dishing out 500+ dollars for the iPad hurts to even think about (Don’t forget to include all the accessories too!) or you’re just inherently against all Apple products, the latest Android tablets out today is much easier on the wallet and an excellent competitor to the iPad.

Main points you should know:
Android tablets operate on an open source platform, in other words, developers are able to change, modify, improve and create their own software, which means greater flexibility and more apps to choose from. However, although there are many Android apps available, some of the popular apps for children with special needs are currently only available for the iPad. For example, Proloquo2go, one of the leading communication apps out there, was developed for the IPhone, Itouch and IPad only and according to their website, they’re not intending to develop their app for the Android system in the near future. Nevertheless, as more and more affordable Android tablets surface, its popularity will continue to grow as will the demand for compatible apps. Below is a brief list of currently popular Android tablets and apps.

Android Tablets
(Below based on 16 gb)
1. The EEE PAD Asus Transformer was considered the best tablet on the market in 2011. Although a newer version has since come out, the original can be found for as low as $337.
2. The Kindle Fire has a smaller screen but can be purchased for approximately $200.
3. The Galaxy Tab is another popular tablet out on the market and can be found for as low as $329.
4. The Toshiba Thrive can be found for as low as $330.
Android Apps
1. Although Proloquo2go may not be available, a similar app to use for communication is JabTalk. This app is easy on the wallet compared to the nearly $200 price tag on the Proloquo2go app; in fact, it’s free! This app allows the user to directly download pictures off of Google Image Search or add your own images from your camera. You can directly record your own voice to match the icons or use their text to speech option and the navigation system is easy to use.
2. Type and Speak makes your tablet say whatever you type out loud
3. Alexicom AAC for Android may be similar in its design as the Proloquo2go. Communication pages can be saved and shared across devices as well.
4. First Then Visual Schedule (also available on the iPad) allows customizable activity schedules to help with daily tasks and/or routines.
5. DTT colors or DTT Shapes (also available on the iPad) teaches colors and shapes using Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT)
6. EasyKidTokens provides a virtual token board system to use on the go.
7. EasyKidTimer allows your child to visually see the passage of time.
8. Kids Connect the Dots can be used to teach number sequence while connecting the dots to reveal a picture.
9. 123 ABC’s Handwriting Fun will teach your child to trace letters and numbers.
10. IstoryBooks is a free read aloud app that publishes a new book every 2 weeks.
There are a large amount of apps available for the Android on Google Play, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always create your own!
While there may be a great deal of benefits using an iPad with a child with autism, the iPad is not the only option available. If you are looking for something more affordable that your child can use, whether it be for communication or the many educational tools available, Android tablets may be a perfect alternative.


QSAC is a New York City and Long Island based nonprofit that supports children and adults with autism, together with their families, in achieving greater independence, realizing their future potential, and contributing to their communities in a meaningful way by offering person-centered services.

QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills.