Bottom Line: Autism Core Skills is a loaded app full of the things us reviewers love like custom settings, smooth graphics, tons of easy-to-access content and data collection. This is an app for folks that are truly serious about education for kids on the spectrum because it requires hands-on time for the teacher, therapist or parent and it comes with a hefty subscription fee that may be worth it if this is the app your student(s) need.
If you would like to download Autism Core Skills and begin a free seven-day trial, please use this handy link:
iPad only (FREE trial)
This app gives users a free, one week trial to see if it fits the needs of teachers, therapists, parents and most importantly students. After downloading, users are prompted to register with an email, full name and whether they are parents, teachers, therapists or "other". Since I'm not a teacher or therapist but I do have a son on the autism spectrum, I chose, "parent". From the layout I reviewed, I think this distinction in registration is more for the analytics of the developer and doesn't make a difference as to what content users see. After registering, it's time to set up a student. In the free trial, only one student is possible but when subscribing, there are three levels: single student, five students or 10 students. Price rises with each level. The basic subscription is $99.99, medium is $139.99 and premium is $189.99 -all billed yearly. When setting up a student, users are asked to name a collaborator (an adult who will participate in the lessons with the child aside from themselves) for instance a caregiver or other teacher. Collaborators are sent an invitation with a link to the iTunes app as well as a login passcode. This means that a collaborator does not have to purchase the subscription to work with that particular student. All that is needed is an iPad. The app is not available yet for the computer, android or iPhone.
Registration has happened, a student has been named, a collaborator is invited and then just a few more choices before the learning starts. There are a lot of choices that make this app earn its subscription fee. Aside from turning off or on background images and inputting date of birth for the student and turning sounds off or on, users can click on several topics of interest for the child such as sports, ocean or school (too name just a few), answer questions to get a general idea of ability level, choice of three attention spans (short, medium or long), whether to send the collaborator reports at all , quarterly or weekly and whether the app should automatically create lessons. I loved the ability of this app to create lessons. As an autism parent, I know a lot of technical jargon and "school" lingo, but some days I'm left like a deer in headlights. By answering just a few questions and then letting my kiddo play, I suddenly have a school in my iPad. I tinkered with many of the settings to see what changed and how the lessons presented themselves in auto mode and I was pleasantly surprised. Choosing a short attention span with fewer abilities made lessons shorter and easier to perform. Increasing those choices upped the number lessons but also included breaks. The app covers academic lessons for math and reading, social lessons for sharing and turn-taking and communication lessons for understanding.
I found no bugs while tinkering with settings and playing through lessons. I found the app easy to navigate, customize and I also enjoyed that all narration and visual effects looked streamlined and professional. This is an app that a lot of care has been given to make smooth. I also have to add that the learning doesn't stop in the app. There are printable lessons that are available in the app for pen and paper work as well as adding friends that can sit down with the student and teacher or caregiver to perform some of the activities in communication and social skills.
In addition to all that is contained in the app, I found a lot of free printables at the developer's website, Infiniteach, >>HERE<< and used some at my house. Overall, even though the subscription is a bit rich for many folks, when digging deeper than the sticker shock, users will find a whole slew of options, customization and lessons that are tweaked to help students on the spectrum shine like rainbows academically.
Cynthia just painted her office because it was looking like a highway underpass from all of the crayon graffiti made by her little Viking. It might stay white for a day. *Smart Apps for Kids was paid a priority review fee for this post.