By: Lisa Valerio
The Camp Discovery App, developed by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) focuses on establishing the core foundation and very basics skills in understanding one-to-one correlation and receptive language. The app is voice narrated, allowing children as young as two and pre-readers to benefit from the app. Camp Discovery provides a personalized learning experience for each user, based on parental settings as well as a regularly-updated preference assessment for rewards. The app also includes fun mini games which can be a break from learning or used to reward completing levels.
My son is autistic, and I am very familiar with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is a standard treatment for autism spectrum disorders. I was glad to see all aspects of ABA teachings developed throughout the app. My son has been a master at identical matching for years but continues to have difficulties in sorting similar or like items, so I had him spend some time with this app over the past few weeks, and I am impressed with how far he has come in using this app for matching and sorting items that are not identical.
However, there are a few things that could make this app even more motivating and flexible for the parent or therapist working with a child:
Have the preference assessment tool be an option or that can be set-up once for your child and leave it on that setting. It is frustarting to have to hit the objects 10-12 times or just sit there for a minute (if you ignore the preference assessment) before the game will start.
Have the option to remove the timer. Some kids on the autistic spectrum take time to respond, and if a parent or therapist is working with the child they could prompt if necessary.
In the settings, allow a child skip over the one-to-one relationship and go directly to field of three for matching, sorting, etc.
In the matching section of the app, state what has been matched in order to help build receptive language. E.g., once the child has matched the grass to grass, have the app say “grass” and then “you matched the grass – great work!”
Lisa Valerio is an autism resource & insurance advocate, iPad champion for children with learning differences.