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Special Learning, Inc. Launches a New Applied Behavior Analysis-based iPhone App for Children with Autism Called "Communicating Basic Needs"



The application's main purpose is to let non-verbal children, especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD, communicate to parents, teachers and caregivers what they want quickly and easily. However, it can also be used as part of a child's ABA therapy to begin to teach basic language skills; the app can help the child learn what words mean and what they sound like in an entertaining and interesting way, holding the child's interest and keeping him or her engaged for longer periods of time.

The app was developed and tested under the guidance of a team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and adheres strictly to the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the only therapeutic approach for children with ASD recognized as effective by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Surgeon General of the United States.

Some features of the app are as follows:

  • The app is very simple and fun to use. It offers very simple navigation and is colorful and intuitive, making it easy for children to learn and use without a lot of instruction.
  • The full version of the app comes pre-loaded with hundreds of real photographs of food, drink, clothing and toys (not symbols or stick figures like many ACC's) plus an extensive assortment of pictures representing 9 emotions, including feeling happy, sad, sick, or tired.
  • Using a web-server interface, the full version of the app will also allow customization to allow parents and therapists to upload their own image and voice files to make it even more customized and user friendly for children.
  • The app contains three different photographs of every item in each of the five main categories to allow therapists to teach generalization skills to children that are ready to learn these skills.
  • Through the "Settings" field in the "Admin" section, the app offers an abundance of customization features including:

(1) Ability to select from four "Voice" options: girl, boy, man and woman;
(2) Ability to select from five "Themes" or backgrounds: default, aquatic, butterfly, creatures, and trucks;
(3) Ability to select from three "Picture Size" options: small, medium and large;
(4) Ability to "Randomize" image selection from a set (of three) or select fixed images for each item;
(5) Ability to choose "Word" or "Phrase" for emotions icons;
(6)Ability to enable or disable "Item Titles" which appear on top of each icon;

As measurement is such a critical aspect of Applied Behavior Analysis, the app also features a data capturing and reporting function that tracks frequency data by category and by item. The full version of the app provides the ability to create charts and graphs for specific time and data ranges using a back-end web interface.

Every app by Special Learning is designed from the ground up with the help of Board Certified Behavior Analysts to be fully Applied Behavior Analysis (or ABA) compliant. That's important to families of children with ASD because no other product on the market will fit so seamlessly and integrally into a child's ABA intervention program, or provide parents and support teams with critical information to help customize a child's lessons to his or her exact needs.

Special Learning, Inc. is a comprehensive autism solutions company that exists to offer every parent with a special child a genuine chance to help their son or daughter attain an abundant and fulfilling life. Our mission is to bring light and hope to children with autism and developmental disabilities around the globe.

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