Children and teens with autism or Aspergers often have difficulty communicating and interacting with others. The apps in this collection can help kids to understand their emotions better, learn how to read facial expressions, practice social exchanges, create personalized stories, and more. For more quality apps, browse our full library of literacy apps.
Many of the reviews we link to are from Common Sense Education, a trusted resource for learning about apps and other edtech tools.
Learn with Rufus: Feelings and Emotions
This app is designed to help children learn the facial expressions that correspond to happy, sad, angry, afraid, surprised, and disgusted. The game is highly customizable to meet the needs of children with varying skills, ability levels, and learning styles.
Model Me Going Places 2
Model Me Going Places 2 is a social skills aid designed for students with Asperger syndrome, autism, and developmental delays, but the tutorials could be useful for any student who needs help building social skills. Six sets of photos with narration demonstrate appropriate and expected behaviors at a hairdresser, mall, doctor's office, playground, grocery store, and restaurant.
Provides teachers and parents with a tidy, powerhouse package to help kids learn positive social behavior. The app contains activities, games, and cartoon descriptions of social situations based mainly on “social catch phrases” that kids can learn to better interact with others. Created by a group of trained therapists and educators, the app focuses on seven skill areas: initiating social contact; maintaining conversations; advocating and compromising; getting regulated; interpreting non-verbal skills; negotiating space; and experiencing humor. While applicable to all kids, these resources will be especially useful to kids with special needs and/or autism.
Social Story Creator for Educators
An easy-to-use app that allows you to view and create social stories with photos, audio, and text. Social stories are short vignettes created by a parent, teacher, or caregiver to help a child with a skill, concept, or situation that involves an emotional or social component. Examples range from activity transitions to dealing with emotions to helping students modify their behavior. The app includes a collection of pre-made social stories and users can also create their own social stories, using the camera or camera roll, the devices's microphone, and text. Finished stories can be printed or shared with others who have the app.
The Social Express II
The Social Express II is an animated app for boosting kids' social-awareness skills. Each lesson presents daily interactive social situations using video modeling, "hidden rules," and suggestions for how to solve problems in daily life. Beginner lessons encourage kids to explore nonverbal cues and stress the importance of eye contact. Intermediate and advanced lessons help kids transfer social rules into real life. Each level includes teacher tips to help teachers guide students in resolving the intended social lesson.