The Autism Suite for the omiVista has been designed by specialist teachers to enable users to develop a whole range of skills in a way that is engaging, challenging and perhaps most importantly reassuringly structured.
The Seven main areas that it supports have been identified as those most beneficial to the autistic learner across a wide range of abilities.
Sensory – (Calming & Alerting)
Each area addresses specific skills and builds on them to maximize users’ progress and sense of achievement through a structured set of apps with a detailed user manual that will help staff to facilitate focused sessions with clear objectives.
The first Four areas of Social Interaction, Emotional Understanding, Flexible Thinking and Communication Skills are key to supporting individuals’ who may struggle with…
have difficulty communicating their feelings
daily social skills,
feeling different/ isolated
find it hard to read situations and respond appropriately
struggle to recognize emotions in others
Enhancing their social skill set is vital for them to feel a sense of self-worth and belonging. The Suite introduces each concept a step at a time encouraging users to explore for example their:
coping methods and personal aspirations
likes and dislikes
Specific apps teach for example:
to use idioms in the correct context
to understand and control own emotions
how to read faces and interpret emotions,
how to describe people,
ways of talking about themselves
to understand and tell jokes
recognize others’ points of view
All of these apps are presented in a way that is truly interactive and engaging but in a format that is familiar, encouraging openness and self-discovery.
At OMi we recognize that specific skills such as ‘sharing spaces with others’ need to be taught and learnt through experience, so apps have been created to encourage these cooperative behaviors…for example by:
‘throwing’ Frisbees over grass,
solving a large interactive puzzle a piece at a time
‘pushing’ virtual cars along the floor
taking turns jumping in a virtual pond
‘digging’ in the sand to find beach toys
‘passing’ a beach ball across the sea
‘revealing’ hidden animals
The interactions are fun, meaningful and ‘safe’ and users also receive valuable vestibular and proprioceptive feedback helping them to develop greater physical awareness.
The 3 areas headed Personal Organisation, Motor Skills and Sensory (calming/alerting) also support key learning concepts for those with autism. The Personal Organisation apps help users to explore specific skills relating to personal hygiene, space, belongings and personal responsibility i.e. actions/consequences, health & safety issues.
The Motor skills category supports aspects of balance, orientation, coordination, and other physical challenges. Walking/balancing across a virtual rippling pond using stepping stones can give users a powerful sense of achievement but without the risk of getting wet or needing towels! These skills then become transferable just as one child overcame his fear of bath-time by sitting in one of our virtual water-filled baths.
There are a large number of Sensory apps in this suite designed to both stimulate and relax, calm and alert. Some focus on visual stimuli including powerful scenes from nature and others use sounds to relax or engage the user from crashing waves to pouring rain, white noise to garden birds. Others require greater physical commitment to complete the task…
Chasing stars etc
Splatting paint balls
All Sensory apps invite the user to engage in an activity that can be both restful/stimulating, can divert or alert and offer important opportunities for proprioceptive vestibular & feedback.
This Suite of gesture-activated experiences is highly motivating for users on the autism spectrum and effectively supports the work of Speech and Language Therapists, O.T’s, and other 1:1 professionals. Expected release is Easter 2016.
This suite has been created in collaboration with Jo Bridson, ASC specialist teacher at Help With Autism Ltd. www.helpwithautism.co.uk