We talked to parents of autistic children about the technology and online resources that have helped them care for their kids. From a kids GPS tracker to an AAC app all the way to dimmable smart lights, here are the top five products both parents and kids will love.
Smart Tech and Online Resources for Autistic Children
Info current as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Smart tech and resources for autistic kids
- : Best GPS Tracker
- : Best AAC app
- : Best social education series
- : Best visual timer
- : Best for light sensitivity
1. AngelSense: Best GPS Tracker
The AngelSense GPS tracking system was designed by a father of an autistic child. He created this smart gadget specifically for autistic children who may have trouble communicating or who have a tendency to elope.
For example, AngelSense not only tracks the wearer's location, but also learns typical routines and even monitors vehicle speed. If your child's bus is late—or they missed the bus—AngelSense helps parents understand what's going on. Plus, its two-way talk, auto-answer, and SOS features make it easy to connect with a child who may need reassurance.
And you don't have to worry about this GPS tracker getting lost. It attaches to your child's clothing with multiple sensory-friendly options.
Read our full AngelSense review to learn more.
2. Proloquo2Go: Best AAC app
Proloquo2Go is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app that helps people of all ages communicate non-verbally.
We love that Proloquo2Go has a vast library of words and symbols while also supporting custom entries. Users can choose from over 100 voices with regional accents, select a default skin tone for human symbols, and even switch languages in the same sentence.
AssistiveWare, the company behind Proloquo2Go, makes other apps for non-verbal communicators. They're all worth a look, but we especially like the assistive keyboard Keeble and the custom story-telling app Pictello.
3. Model Me: Best social education series
The Model Me video series is perfect for kids who learn best by modeling actions. There are videos for ages 2 to 21 that focus on a variety of topics:
- School routines
- Job skills
And that's not even a complete list. The videos are available as DVDs or digital downloads. Companion manuals and workbooks are also available to help you guide your child through additional activities.
4. Secura: Best visual timer
The Secura 60-Minute Visual Timer is a low-tech but effective solution for helping kids understand time.
For some, it means very little to hear, "You've got five minutes to finish up." The visual timer turns that abstract concept into something tangible.
We like the Secura visual timer because it comes in several different colors and doesn't make any ticking noises. If you'd prefer to use a phone app, there are tons of visual timer options available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
5. Philips Hue: Best for light sensitivity
With Philips Hue smart bulbs, you can make all of your lights dimmable without calling in an electrician. The catch, though, is that your child will have to give a voice command or use a phone app for this method. Non-verbal kids may benefit from a traditional dimmer switch instead.
That said, Philips Hue lights offer a ton of customization options for kids with light sensitivity. If the light is too bright, the bulbs can be dimmed or changed to a warmer color. You can set up routines too, such as automatically making the lights warm and dim during your child's bedtime routine.
Check out other options: Best Smart Bulbs
If you’re a caregiver, parent, teacher, or clinician, these resources can provide information, insights, strategies, and support.
- Shut Up about Your Perfect Kid: The moms we talked to love the blog and social media accounts of this “movement of imperfection.” The site is a celebration of “special kids” and the challenges and triumphs of their “ordinary parents.”
- Autistic Self Advocacy Network: This nonprofit organization started as a grassroots movement that advocated for disability rights for the autistic community. It is run by autistic individuals and focuses on working toward a world where autistic people will have “equal access, rights, and opportunities.”
- National Autism Association: Besides having a lot of great resources to learn more about autism, this org also offers the Big Red Safety Box—a package with resources and safety tools.
—Jessica, mom of an autistic child
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Caveat: SafeWise strives to use inclusive language in all of our publications. Although we usually opt for person-first language, we found that in the case of autism, there are many opinions about person-first versus identity-first language. For this article, we followed the lead of the parents we interviewed and used identity-first language. Although the semantic approaches may vary, we remain committed to respectful and inclusive language, and we want to hear your thoughts and questions. Please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.