Top iPad Apps for Children with Autism


For families of children with autism, we know all too well the challenge of communication between us and the child. Autism affects both receptive and expressive communication skills and can often leave everyone frustrated at the inability to convey a simple request.

But Apple has unwittingly revolutionized the autism world with the technology of the iPad (or iPhone or iPod Touch). Coupled with downloadable applications, or ‘apps’, that have been developed to enhance communication between children and their parents (or caregivers, teachers and therapists), the results are nothing short of miraculous as families are able to engage in quality time together.

Culled from several sources and parental input, here is a list of apps that are popular with special needs families:

Apps for Communication:

1. Proloquo2Go – Provides a full-featured augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) solution for those who have difficulty speaking. It contains text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary and much more. Proloquo2Go, available for iPhone and iPad at $189.99, is considered a good alternative against buying an expensive AAC device.

2. First Then Visual Schedule – Allows the creation of visual schedules that provide positive behavior support through the use of images that show daily events (i.e. morning routine or therapy schedule) or steps needed to complete a specific activity, (i.e. using the restroom). First-Then Visual Schedule is completely customizable to each user’s individual needs and personal voice recordings and images can be added directly from their computer or iPhone camera (in addition to the images in the application’s stock li-brary) to create a schedule. This personalization allows for schedules to be created and updated on the go, helping transition through unexpected changes in a daily routine. Extremely useful for individuals in scenarios where visual schedules serve to increase in-dependence and lower anxiety during transitions through different activities. First-Then Visual Schedule is available for $9.99, currently offered in English and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch.

3. TapToTalk – Just tap a picture and TapToTalk speaks. Each picture can lead to an-other screen of pictures for more detailed conversation. TapToTalk allows the creation of personal AAC albums, with an option to add your own pictures and sounds, to meet the specific needs of the user and includes a library of over 2,000 pictures. Albums created in TapToTalk Designer are “synced” over the internet directly to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The TapToTalk app is available for free, but there is a yearly subscription fee.

4. AutismXpress – People with autism have trouble interpreting emotions and under-standing what different facial expressions may represent. Autism Xpress helps individuals recognize and express their emotions through its fun and easy to use feelings chart. The Autism Xpress iPhone app is available for free.

5. Grace – Grace is a digital version of the Picture Exchange Communications System, a book that helps those unable to speak to build sentences from relevant images. The app starts with 400 images that were chosen by non-verbal people as communication starters. For example, categories include colors, food and drink, my body, and places. Grace allows the users to build their “photo vocabulary” by snapping their own photos to use within the app. Grace is available for $38.

Apps for Parents:

6. IEP Checklist – An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is designed to support the educational needs of school aged students with disabilities. The IEP Checklist App helps parents of students with special needs become better informed advocates by making IEP information easier to access. Version 2 has active links to the relevant lan-guage in the federal regulations, allows users to record the IEP meeting or record notes, and has the capacity to print out notes and click on a checklist as requested items are discussed. The IEP Checklist app is free.

7. Behavior Tracker Pro – allows the tracking and graphing of behaviors by frequency, duration and rate. Option to record a video of behaviors or interventions to for later re-view with parents, teachers and therapists. Available for $29.99.

8. Autism News Reader – grabs the top stories from the best autism health news and information sites and delivers them to your iPhone. Available for $0.99.

Many autistic children also respond well to music and art, and some enjoy fast moving games or interactive storybooks. Since a child’s preference varies, here are some of the apps that my two sons enjoy (prices vary):
  • ABA Flash Cards
  • Doodle Buddy
  • Whiteboard
  • Virtuoso
  • Toy Story
  • Spongebob Marbles and Slides
  • Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart

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22 Responses to Top iPad Apps for Children with Autism

  1. Ernani Morgan says:

    Hi Brenda,
    Thanks for this very informative article. I would certainly look at purchasing some of these apps for my grandsons. Perhaps, subconciously, that’s the reason I bought an iPad instead of a computer. Looking forward to more of your articles.

  2. Roseanna says:

    Thanks, Brenda, for this article. A lot of good infomation.
    All very useful

  3. Kerry says:

    THANK YOU! Awesome suggestions for those of us with children on the spectrum!

  4. Sally Korman says:

    Hi Brenda,
    I feel so proud to have a niece who has grown and learned along with her children life lessons that many adults haven’t touched yet. Sharing your knowledge as you’ve done in this article will benefit many parents, teachers and children, just as they have benefitted your family. Carry on, Brenda. You have much to share.

  5. lisadom says:

    Wow! thanks so much Brenda, I am in excellent company on this list. And I love it when someone ‘gets” Grace App.

    I am very fond of First and Then – it saves me a lot of time in the morning getting Gracie ready for school as she needs those visual prompts in order to perform the task independently and it is a really quick app to set up. I have tried other more expensive schedule apps and this one is better.

    I am going to show the list to my school Director as Grace has emotions on her IEP – they are using icons on a card at the moment but I know Gracie will develop more quickly using an app as she can generalise the task with me at home.

    And only on Friday I was talking to the Director about behaviour tracking using her iPhone. (I was in school setting up a donated iPhone for a pupil.

    Great list, much appreciated. xx

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  7. Player 02 says:

    Phenomenal job on this list, Brenda. There’s one more app I’d like to bring you attention to. Folks like Gary James from A4KWSN, Kiboomu, MomsWithApps and David Curry have all weighed in and said they love My Underwear from Todd Parr. I also have a few friends and family members who have children (or work with children) on the spectrum. They all feel the game is a HUGE hit in their households. Just in case you’ve missed it, check it out:

    Keep up the great work. Hope to see My Underwear on your next list!


  8. Kelly says:

    Always looking for new apps for my son and his new ipad- thanks for the info! Also wanted to let parents know about iballz i purchased for him for his ipad protection. Complete reassurance that the ipad will be safe in his unpredictable hands! :) You can check out how it works and see videos at -a real life saver!

  9. Jenn says:

    Thank you for these recommendations. My husband and I just purchased an iPad for our four year old (five in two weeks!) autistic son, and we’re on the lookout for apps for him. :)

  10. Nancy Votour says:

    I have a niece who has a daughter with autism. They just purchased ipad and now want some ipad apps for children with autism. The little girl is 3 years old and she does not speak. Can you suggest some ipad apps that would be appropriate and are the apps something you purchase or just download off computer site? Please advise

  11. iSpoke Flash Cards says:

    Treating Autism using Apps: I wanted something to assist my son, Joshua. What makes iSpoke Flash Cards stand out i created is:
    Customise, change the voice or add new content in your language and photos .I donate $0.50 (17%) to Autism Spectrum Australia.PLEASE download at

  12. Angie says:

    Could you recommend any interactive story telling applications that might be engaging and appealing enough to get kids interested in listening to stories.


  13. Erica says:


    Sesame Street’s “The Monster at the End of This Book” is an AMAZING interactive story telling app. There are also several Dr. Seuss stories that are wonderful as well.

  14. Robert says:

    Try the NEW U-Sync Video Scheduler for autism. It is the only visual schedule app completely controlled over the Internet portal. Apple and Android…developed at BGSU!

  15. Pingback: List of iPad and iPhone Applications for Young Children (and Autism) | BURST YOUR COCOON


    Pic Talk Toddler is now available in the iTunes store developed for iPad!


    ONLY $29.99 Limited Time Offer!

    PicTalk™ Toddler is an affordable, easy to use, alternative communication application specifically designed for the iPAD. This application was designed by New Line Technology Group in efforts to assist therapists, parents, and caregivers find an effective way for toddlers and children with speech delays or severe speech disorders a way to communicate effectively. PicTalk™ Toddler helps young children communicate with their family, caregivers, teachers, friends, and others that they meet in everyday life.

    Developed in collaboration with therapists and teachers who work with toddlers and children that have speech delays, PicTalk™ Toddler offers picture icons that are organized by categories that reflect natural speech development. With PicTalk’s integrated text to speech application, it opens additional doors to enhance your child’s learning and educational path. The large icons make interaction with PicTalk™ Toddler much easier for children with motor skill delay’s or deficiencies.

  17. deborah lassetter says:

    I have a 14 year old autistic son with possible fragile x syndrome. He is u nable to read but does recognizes words and names. He is very uncoordinated and has difficulty with game boy wii xbox etc. but he really loves his ipad at school. I was hoping to be able to get him one for christmas but my husband is unemployed and we are living off one income.

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Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
  • * 1.7 million Americans have some form of autism
  • * 4 out of 5 autistic children are boys

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