Free iPhone and iPad Apps for Kids with Autism

Updated on June 15, 2017
missolive profile image

Ms. Olivares is certified in special education. She works closely to promote the academic and social development of her son, who has autism.

Best autism apps for kids, parents, teachers, and therapists.
Best autism apps for kids, parents, teachers, and therapists. | Source
There is a wonderful assortment of apps for the iphone, ipod, and ipad. Autism apps are growing in availability and have been proven in promoting development.
There is a wonderful assortment of apps for the iphone, ipod, and ipad. Autism apps are growing in availability and have been proven in promoting development. | Source

Apps for Autism

Technology is constantly moving forward and finding the right app or application for your iphone, ipod, or ipad can be a true jaunt down the trial-and-error lane. By now you may have seen how technology is opening up a variety of doors for those diagnosed with autism, Asperger's, and other disabilities.

Apps can help you and your child gain the focus and communication that will enhance their growth in a variety of social and academic areas. These outcomes are impressive and provide great hope for those affected by autism and special needs.

I have sifted through a bundle of the current apps that are available and was pleasantly surprised by how this market has grown. One particular company has made the task a bit easier and has a created a go-to app that is organized by social and academic need.

The Autism App, free in the iTunes store, categorizes autism-related apps by device, need, and price.
The Autism App, free in the iTunes store, categorizes autism-related apps by device, need, and price. | Source

Exploring the Autism App

I encourage you to install the Autism App as a means of locating the appropriate app for your needs. There are several free apps available for you to analyze. Although children in the autism spectrum have similar characteristics, they are each unique in their needs and development. Review what will be effective for your particular child or student.

Apps for Autism

Autism Apps is my all-time favorite app for finding a variety of apps. It is free, too!
Autism Apps is my all-time favorite app for finding a variety of apps. It is free, too! | Source
Autism Apps gives you the luxury of finding apps by category, device type, and price.
Autism Apps gives you the luxury of finding apps by category, device type, and price. | Source

Categories in Autism Apps

Categories in the Autism App currently include the following areas:

  • ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis)
  • Alphabet
  • Art
  • Assessments
  • Behavior and Social Skills
  • Books
  • Cause and Effect
  • Choice-Making Apps
  • Colors
  • Communication (AAC)
  • Creative Play
  • Data Collection
  • Fine Motor and Writing Skills
  • Flashcards
  • Fun and Games
  • Geography
  • IEP
  • Literacy
  • Math
  • Medical and Health
  • Music
  • Numbers
  • Professionals
  • Puzzles
  • Reference
  • Reward Systems
  • Self-Care
  • Sensory
  • Social Stories
  • Speech and Language
  • Text to Speech
  • Time
  • Visual Schedules
  • Visual Timers
  • Vocabulary

A Few of My Favorite Autism Apps

App Icon for ABA Flashcards: Emotions
App Icon for ABA Flashcards: Emotions | Source

ABA Flash Cards - Emotions

Category - ABA

  • Free
  • Over 50+ vibrant flashcards
  • Fully customizable
  • Audio options
  • Add your own cards
  • Includes 8 games: Reading, listening and finding
  • Adjustable timing and fonts

The flashcard images are created with both the visual and auditory learner in mind. The images feature a variety of action through colorful photography and an easy to read title. Classical music is also randomly played along with visual reinforcement of moving graphics.

You have volume control and you have the ability to turn off the sound as needed. The concisely pronounced audio features the following images -

Bathing, Bowling, Bouncing, Brushing, Catching, Clapping, Climbing, Crawling, Crying, Cuddling, Cutting, Dancing, Drawing, Drinking, Eating, Flying, Hugging, Jumping, Kicking, Kissing, Knocking, Laughing, Licking, Listening, Looking, Painting, Peeking, Petting, Playing, Pouring, Reading, Riding, Rolling, Running, Singing, Skipping, Sleeping, Sliding, Smelling, Smiling, Spinning, Splashing, Stacking, Swinging, Tasting, Thinking, Throwing, Tickling, Washing, Waving, Whispering, Winning.

Note; this is just one ABA App of about 25 flashcard related ABA Apps. There are also additional non flashcard Apps available in this category. Most were free, but some were as high as $49.99 each in this category.

Availability: iphone, ipod and ipad


ABA Flashcards: Emotions screenshots

App Icon for abc PocketPhonics Lite
App Icon for abc PocketPhonics Lite | Source

abc PocketPhonics Lite

Category - Alphabet

I absolutely loved this App. This App focuses on three areas -

  • Letter Sounds
  • Letter Writing
  • First Words

This is a great App for encouraging phonemic awareness. Aside from having the user listen to the sound of the letter, it also encourages you to correctly spell the letter with your finger. The App offers applause and praise. Once the App takes you through a series of letters and sounds it prompts you to begin building a word.

Benefits, abc PocketPhonics Lite is free! An upgrade is optional and reasonable. Incidently, this particular App won the Editor's Choice Award in 2011 by the Children's Technology Review.

Availability: iphone, ipod and ipad

By: Apps in My Pocket Ltd.

Abc PocketPhonics Lite screenshots

App icon for the iTouchilearn Words
App icon for the iTouchilearn Words | Source

iTouchilearn Words for Preschool & Special Needs Kids Free: Spelling, Reading, Letters

Category - Literacy

Simulates Early Language Development

Provides a greater understanding of words and related meanings. Activities promote the following learning areas.

  • Sight Words
  • Spelling Reading
  • Speech Therapy
  • Cognitive Skills
  • Early Learning Literacy
  • Special Education

Two versions available; the free preview version and the full upgrade is currently a comfortable $1.99

This App has several positive testimonials by both teachers and parents. Excellent results are being reported in interest and development of related skills.

Availability: iphone, ipod and ipad

By: Staytooned

iTouchilearn Words screenshots


A Video excerpt from 60 minutes

Although the video below focuses on the ipad most Apps are available for iphones too. Watch how the focus greatly improves when the children in these videos use the Apps as opposed to a handout. This is the initial goal for parents, teachers and therapists of children with autism. Finding and sustaining that focus is key in encouraging growth and development.

Apps for Autism - 60 minutes

Infographic for Pinterest - Pin it!

Autism Apps offers an effective way of finding just the right App for your child with autism.
Autism Apps offers an effective way of finding just the right App for your child with autism. | Source

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares


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    • profile image

      Dawn Amareld 

      2 years ago

      I'm very impressed with these site.

      Excited to finally find teaching material for my 4 year old son, he has NF1(Neurofibromatosis) High Functing Autism and major Sensory Processing Disorder. Finally someone who know and understand SPD. I would love to receive more articles and updates.


      Dawn Amareld

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      tebo, I have to agree with you, I am simply in awe with all technology has to offer. I too wish these things were available to my son when he was a toddler. Thank you for reading and commenting. All the best to you and your son.

    • tebo profile image


      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Very informative hub. It would have been great if this technology was around when my son was young. He did very well with computers though, but the free ABA apps must be great for parents as I know ABA is an expensive way to go if using therapists to teach it.

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      jean2011, you are quite welcome and thank you for reading and voting. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. :)

    • jean2011 profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful hub ! I have voted it awesome and interesting.

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Sharyn's Slant- Hi Sharon! Thank you so much. Tony never fails to amaze me. What can a mom say? :)

      I appreciate your wonderful comment and support. My best to your sis. I do hope she finds this App and all it contains as useful as I have.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      What a wonderful resource you have presented here Miss Olive. I hope to find the time to go back and read about your journey thus far with your adorable Tony! And I always pass your hubs about autism on to my lil sis since she has autistic students in her pre-school class. Thank you!


    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      learner365 - wow, thank you so much. Technology is certainly moving forward with many wonderful tools. It wonderful to know special needs children are being included in these advances. I am very glad you came by to read and comment.

      savingkathy - ipads are wonderful tools. The nice thing about these apps is that they are usually available for iphones and ipads. I do hope you found the Autism App helpful in locating fun and engaging apps. I hope to hear from you. Thank you for reading and for your lovely comment.

      RTalloni - isn't it amazing seeing all of these wonderful tools? This is certainly opening many doors for our lovely kiddos. I did notice the apps in the autism app category were not as busy as regular apps. This was probably done on purpose so as not to overstimulate. You made a very good point on that issue. As a mom and a teacher I will continue to hold hope. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      HawaiiHeart - What a wonderful testimony. I'm glad to hear you are using technology. Continued best wishes to you and your son.

      kickstarer for a game for kids with autism - Thanks for the link, I'll be sure to check it out

      rebeccamealey - Thank you Rebecca. I appreciate you coming by to read, comment and vote.

      Teresa Coppens - ipads are wonderful. We use them at my campus and I've been doing quite a bit of research on the various apps. There is just so much out there. Although is can seem daunting I'd rather have too much to choose from than not enough. My best to you and your son.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Another wonderful autism hub. Technology has been a godsend for my son with an LD. It is not surprising to me at all that technology such as the IPad and its apps can be so very helpful!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      8 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great Information on the latest technology for autism. You have provided a great guide for APPS for autism. Very useful for many! Voted up, and very useful.

    • profile image

      kickstarer for a game for kids with autism 

      8 years ago

      hi missolive, thanks for collecting that information. I have a nephew with autism and he already loves his playing with his mother's phone.

      here's something today about an ipad app for children with autism. they're raising money on kickstarter to finish it, but what they have so far looks interesting.

    • HawaiiHeart profile image


      8 years ago from Hawaii

      My son has an ASD and we have almost all of these apps on our iPhones and iPad. They really are great learning tools, even for kids without ASD.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow. :) Thanks so much for highlighting the autism app for us. This is an amazing tool for the kids, their parents, and their educators. My first thought is that any toddler might enjoy the programs offered through this app, but I suppose we had better think about overstimulation for the typical toddler. It's exciting to see the kids in the video and to think about what the future could hold for them because of these programs--what might these kids hold for us?!

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for writing this hub, missolive. My son just started using an iPad, and I am looking for some more apps to add to help his communication and learning. I am going to check out the Autism App now for some more suitable apps for him!

    • learner365 profile image

      Saadia A 

      8 years ago

      Hi missolive...It is true technology has opened up doors for the kids with the problem. Now it is much easier for them to enhance and develop their communication skills.I also must say that you are doing a great help for the children with Autism.This article is another great instance for that.

      Voted up and useful!!!


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