Sprint recently released a package of apps known as Neurodiversity ID Pack. It is a group of 25 packs designed especially in mind for those with special needs. The apps are to be used by children and to help support their parents with apps and links to websites. This is a review of some of those apps. To view all available apps, please click here (http://www.sprint.com/sprintid). Sprint ID packs are free to download but certain apps are not free to use.
The apps are for individuals who are autistic, non-verbal, dyslexic, dyspraxic and/or other cognitive and neurological differences. The apps provide such things as tap to talk where someone can press a picture to give a predetermined phrase, or use multiple taps to form complete sentences such as “I want to go out for a piece of pizza.” The Talk to Tap app has “albums” that are downloaded via email and installed into the app. In these albums contain the sound files so that one can use an adult female or adult male or the children albums use a female child or male child voice files to speak the phrases attached to the pictures. Also, the choices available to tap change per album as adults will want to do things that children would not and vice versa. This app has received favorable reviews and ratings in the Google Play Store although there was one criticism: it is not customizable to a full extent. In other words, one cannot install their own pictures and phrases that they would use often. However, the app is free to use.
There are educational apps that are meant to improve math and reading skills and offers developmental games for children, K-12. The reviews are favorable in the Google Play Store and many parents enjoy having them available for keeping kids busy during rough times such as waiting in a doctor's office waiting room. Parents like that the kids are playing games that with help with motor movements and learning new skills.
Thomas Johnson, age 15, is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and several other neurological differences. He used the ID pack on an LG G2 android-based smart phone and tested the apps. He was displeased that all the pictures and games seemed geared towards pre-school aged children, even the “adult” albums had cartoon pictures rather than real pictures. However, he did like the text to speak app and several others. He said, “What's good is that you can pick and choose which apps you like. Sprint is obviously trying to reach a broad audience with a single product, you're not going to be able to please everyone with everything. So, I can use the ones I like and not use the ones I don't.”
The apps were easy to install with one click and the ID interface was easy to use. Parents of special needs kids often complain about the costs of services and therapies and it is nice that even though some apps cost money, they are comparatively speaking, less expensive than others.
Sprint has partnered with several organizations to provide support links to parents of children with special needs. Included in the ID pack are several links to online resources and community support forums. All caregivers need a place they can turn to and Sprint offers that and more. The chosen organizations provide science-based information regarding many different types of special needs children and adults may face. One hopes that soon Sprint will develop apps specifically for adult autistics as children do not outgrow autism.
For more information, please visit the Sprint website (http://www.sprint.com)