By Kara Brooklier, Ph.D., Director of Autism Training & Evaluation, The Children’s Center

Now more than ever, families affected by autism have resources at their fingertips. So in honor of April’s National Autism Awareness Month, The Children’s Center has researched and is sharing our recommendations for apps to help families and children. Many of these are available on many different devices including tablets, iPhones and Androids. We are also happy to note that many of them are free or inexpensive.


Birdhouse is an autism management app that was developed by parents of “Little Bird,” who has ASD. They developed this app – here in the Detroit area — out of their own frustration while trying to track their daughter’s daily activities and behaviors. Birdhouse is available on iTunes for the iPad and iPhone and is also available for Android devices. “Use Birdhouse on your smart phone to keep a running, searchable log of your child’s daily activities and behaviors, so you can figure out what’s working and what needs to be changed.”

ABA Teamwork LS

ABA Teamwork LS is a computer software model available for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. It focuses on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and allows for data collection and sharing between school and home. It is free to download directly to your computer.

A BuZoo Story

A BuZoo Story is available for Android phones and tablets. At $15 it is a little pricey, but is rated highly and focuses on developing such skills as communication, social skills, functional skills and language. It is also very interactive, and simple to use, especially in the touch-free mode. Children simply wave at the camera and easily help each animal board the bus while learning the animal’s name, how to spell it, and interact with each animal.

Kids Learning Program

Kids Learning Program is available on iTunes for iPhone and iPad. It is a FREE app that teaches hygiene skills and has learning programs that can be helpful to children with ASD.  It also won the 2014 Family Choice Award.

Free Children’s Books: FarFaria

Reading is a key skill for any child. Children with ASD can also improve communication, language and social skills by improving literacy. Free Children’s Books: FarFaria is an app available for smart phones and offers over 600 children’s book titles, many of them available for free. It is like having a children’s library in your phone. Five new books are added to the collection each week.

Toy Story Read-Along

Toy Story Read-Along (FREE reading app) is more than just reading. The interactive experience includes games, music, coloring, pages and movie clips. Who doesn’t want to hang out with Buzz and Woody?

We hope these apps will be helpful to all families, but especially those dealing with the challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorders. For more helpful information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

Do you have a favorite learning app? Share it with us in the reply box below!