Hacking For Autism: Life Changing Apps

Twilio and Autism Speaks Host Hackathon

From right to left: John Fairchild, Gary Bryan, Lois Brady, Doug Goldie1st place with VIP (Virtual Interactive Practice)

From right to left: John Fairchild, Gary Bryan, Lois Brady, Doug Goldie 1st place with VIP (Virtual Interactive Practice)

This past weekend was a blast. Coming together with a room of programmers, designers, developers and supporters for a 24hr marathon of brain storming, code crunching and demoing is an experience to remember.

This was my second Hackathon and like the first, I saw many great minds developing apps to support individuals on the autism spectrum. Read more about it at Autism Speaks and Cnet

A shout out to Twilio for the hospitality, food and prizes

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BubCap- Home Button Covers For The iPad, iPhone and iPod

Bubcaps are very effective against accidental depressing of the home button, but may only be a deterrent at best for a student who purposely presses the home button to escape a certain activity. In such a case the Bubcap can be used in conjunction with a visual aid in order to keep the student focused, there is an example of such an aid later in this article (see iPad schedule).

From the Developer

BubCap home button covers are rigid enough to deter toddlers from pressing the home button, yet flexible enough that adults can activate the home button with a firm press. It’s a similar concept to many child-proof caps for medicine bottles.

Which BubCaps should I order?

Due to subtle differences in the home buttons on different devices, please refer to these guidelines and choose the right model(s) for your situation:

BubCap regular is our least rigid model, which is great for most toddlers using an iPhone or iPod touch. It doesn’t provide much resistance on an iPad.

BubCap Ultra is more difficult to press through, and is best suited for toddlers on an iPad. Also works for older / stronger kids on an iPhone or iPod touch.

BubCap Max is the most difficult to press through, and is intended for older / stronger kids on an iPad, and are very hard to activate on iPhone and iPod touch, even for adults.

BubCap in Place


From the Customer

I have been using a BubCap with my students for about a month to assess their effectiveness with students on the spectrum. They are wonderful and do exactly what they advertise. Students with motor challenges or students who press the “Home” button by accident have benefited tremendously. They are able to hold and navigate the iPad without closing out of an app due to a misplaced thumb or accidental bumping.

Be Aware! BubCaps are super for students who accidentally hit or bump the home button, however may not be the answer for students with autism who frequently, intentionally press the home button. Students with autism should learn how to suppress the urge to frequently press the home button. Also, many students will quickly learn how to “press through” the BubCap.

Alternative:

The Ipad Schedule

Provide your child/student with a visual schedule of the apps/activities you want completed. After each app is completed, remove the icon from the schedule and move to the next task. Pictures were made by copy & pasting app icons from Google images. You can then print them and by using velcro and laminated paper you can build a simple visual aid. Of course there is other methods to building the visual aid, but you get the idea.

For best “buy-in” from students, let them choose an activity to embed into the schedule. Also, the last icon on the schedule should be a reinforcer of the student’s choice or an AAC app that allows the student to make a choice of reinforce.

Tip

double tap Home button

When a child/student accidently or purposefully exits an app by pressing the home button, simply double tap the home button and a window will appear on the bottom of your iDevice with recently opened apps. Tap on the app you were using and it will open where you left off.

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