Mental Health Apps for Autistic Individuals - image

Mental Health Apps for Autistic Individuals

In today’s digital age, mobile applications tailored for autism are emerging as essential instruments for empowerment and learning. These apps, accessible on smartphones, tablets, and sometimes desktops, cater to a diverse spectrum of needs within the autism community.

Here’s a glimpse into the varied spectrum of autism-focused apps:

  • Advanced communication apps that offer a voice to those with limited verbal abilities;

  • Educational apps that enhance social interaction skills;

  • Behavioral apps that assist in monitoring and achieving behavioral objectives;

  • Relaxation and sensory apps designed to alleviate stress and prevent overwhelming experiences.

While some apps are developed for the broader audience and coincidentally benefit individuals with autism, others are crafted with the specific intent to aid autistic children — and in rarer instances, teenagers or adults. Additionally, certain apps are aligned with specialized autism therapy approaches, providing support where it’s most needed.

About Autism Apps

Embarking on the journey through the realm of autism apps requires an understanding of their advantages, drawbacks, and boundaries. Not all apps are created equal — some offer substantial value for the investment, while others may disappoint with their limited features. Moreover, for some individuals on the autism spectrum, traditional methods like direct human contact or simple pen and paper may be more beneficial than digital applications.

Here are essential considerations to bear in mind:

  • Therapeutic applications often come with a higher price tag compared to similar mainstream products. While certain “autism apps” justify their cost with added value, this isn’t always the case.

  • A deep fascination with digital technology can be seen in some autistic individuals, which might lead to challenges in disengaging from their devices. It’s crucial to moderate the number of apps or the time spent on electronic devices, as the ultimate goal is to foster genuine social interactions and enhance academic skills.

  • The effectiveness of apps designed to monitor behavior, rewards, and accomplishments hinges on the accuracy and consistency of the data entered. These apps reach their full potential when therapists, educators, and parents are all actively participating; otherwise, their benefits are nullified.

  • While some apps simulate social scenarios through animated figures or human representations to teach communication skills, it’s imperative to complement them with actual human contact. No digital tool can completely substitute the nuances and richness of face-to-face interaction.

Apps for Communication

In the recent past, assistive communication devices designed for individuals with limited or no verbal abilities were not only prohibitively costly but also cumbersome and complex. Today, the advent of premium touchscreen apps has dramatically slashed prices and enhanced accessibility, making these essential tools far more user-friendly.

The value these apps provide to those facing speech and language challenges is immeasurable, justifying their cost, which may reach up to $250. Notably, health insurance may defray expenses for these applications in certain instances.

Proloquo2Go by Assistiveware stands out as the premier choice in augmentative communication apps. With a simple touch, users can convey their thoughts through images, while the app lends them a voice. Boasting a lexicon of over 10,000 words, it’s highly adaptable to various physical and cognitive requirements and offers multilingual support. Available on both Android and iOS platforms, it’s priced at approximately $250.

Tobii Dynavox Compass Connect emerges from a seasoned pioneer in the field of augmentative communication. Sharing similarities with Proloquo2Go, this app is exclusive to iOS users and is priced at $180.

For a more budget-friendly option, Tobii Sono Flex offers a streamlined interactive speech solution on both Android and iOS. While it may not offer the extensive features of its higher-priced counterparts, its stellar reviews underscore its effectiveness, all at a modest $100.

Apps for Tracking Goals and Outcomes

For parents navigating the complexities of autism, managing their child’s behavioral patterns, therapeutic sessions, and emotional needs can be daunting. Children on the autism spectrum often engage in a variety of therapies, including speech, behavioral, occupational, and social, which may take place in schools, clinics, or private settings. Challenges such as disrupted sleep, frequent emotional outbursts, and managing multiple medications add to the parental burden.

Keeping track of a child’s daily activities is challenging enough, but monitoring the effectiveness of various therapies without a collaborative system is a Herculean task. Effective tracking is crucial for assessing the impact of therapies and medications.

Moreover, it’s a vital component for gathering insights for Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings or therapy progress discussions.

YALMO is a digital platform designed to simplify the tracking of behaviors, sleep patterns, dietary habits, and other daily activities for children with special needs. Grounded in research that demonstrates a correlation between a child’s behavior, sleep, and daytime activities, YALMO is particularly beneficial for non-verbal children or those with communication difficulties who cannot articulate their needs clearly. Educators, who only spend a portion of the day with the child, often struggle to understand the reasons behind certain behaviors.

YALMO assists parents, educators, and therapists in having a comprehensive view of the child’s profile at their fingertips. It aids in setting and monitoring IEP goals and tailoring behavioral strategies to fit each child’s unique profile. YALMO enhances collaboration among family members and educators, fostering a cohesive and effective action plan tailored to the child’s needs.

Birdhouse for Autism is an application that enables parents and teachers to establish objectives and track a child’s development across various domains, including behavior, diet, mood, medication, therapy, and sleep. When utilized consistently, it serves as an invaluable tool; however, its benefits diminish if used sporadically. It operates on desktop and laptop computers through browsers like Chrome, offering both a complimentary “lite” version and a subscription model priced at $9.99 monthly or $96 annually.

Autism Tracker Pro employs visual icons to monitor aspects ranging from mood and sleep to therapeutic objectives and results. Praised for its user-friendly and intuitive design, it has garnered positive reviews. Exclusively available for iOS, it is priced at $9.99.

Apps for Teaching Social Skills

While a broad spectrum of educational apps can aid in skill and academic development for autistic children, the need for specialized “autism-specific” apps is relatively rare. An exception lies in the realm of social skills development, where direct instruction is often required for autistic children to interpret facial expressions and other nuances of social communication. Such apps are beneficial for children who are verbal and capable of following instructions.

Social skills apps serve a pivotal role in crafting social stories, a concept pioneered by Carol Gray. These apps feature illustrated storybooks that depict everyday situations, providing a visual narrative for children.

Social stories can serve as a rehearsal for stress-inducing events like haircuts or dental visits, or they can offer guidance on behavioral choices in various scenarios. For instance, a social story might outline expectations for a family dinner at Grandma’s house, followed by quiet time with television or games.

Social Detective, designed for preteens, incorporates videos and interactive elements to help users decipher social cues in different environments. It offers both beginner and advanced levels to cater to varying needs. Available on iOS, it is priced at $9.99.

Visual Schedules and Social Stories, accessible via Google Play, equips users with the means to create and rehearse social stories, preparing children for social encounters or upcoming events. Additionally, it provides a feature for establishing visual schedules, and assisting children in organizing and adhering to their daily routines.

Social Story Creator and Library has garnered acclaim for its extensive collection of ready-made social stories and the capability to design personalized narratives. A significant advantage of this app is the facility to share stories among therapists and educators, ensuring a unified approach. Offered on iOS, the basic version is available for $14.99, while the premium version is $29.99.

Sensory Apps

Autistic individuals across all age groups often face sensory integration challenges. Engaging in simple physical activities like squeezing a therapy ball or bouncing on a trampoline can significantly shift their state from heightened anxiety to a tranquil focus.

In situations where physical activities are not feasible, sensory apps emerge as a commendable substitute. These apps cater to a diverse audience and are not exclusively designed for autistic users.

Miracle Modus is a serene app that employs hypnotic visual patterns coupled with soothing sounds to alleviate anxiety. Although it’s not tailored specifically for the autistic community, numerous autistic adults vouch for its calming efficacy. It’s accessible on iOS at no cost.

Calm stands as a quintessential meditation app, offering a blend of visual and auditory meditations along with breathing exercises. It’s available on iOS, Android, and Google Play, free of charge with optional in-app purchases.

Colorfy offers a digital coloring experience suitable for both children and adults. Users can either print coloring pages or engage with the interactive online platform using a tablet. It’s available on iOS, Android, and Google Play, free with in-app purchase options.


Apps undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the lives of autistic individuals, offering various benefits. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that apps are not a replacement for genuine human interaction and engagement.

Given the comfort many autistic individuals find in technology, there’s a risk of over-reliance on digital means. Caregivers, as well as autistic individuals, are encouraged to judiciously choose apps that align with their specific needs and to balance their usage with ample real-life social interactions.


What are some digital mental health solutions available for autistic individuals?

Digital mental health solutions for autistic individuals include psychoeducation, social skills training, and activities of daily living skills to address challenges such as anxiety and depression. These interventions can be delivered through telepsychiatry, virtual reality therapy, and apps, offering individualized and multimodal approaches. Additionally, online peer support and parenting skills resources are available to support both the individuals and their families.

How do these solutions help in improving emotional regulation and social skills development in autism?

Digital mental health solutions help improve emotional regulation in autistic individuals by providing strategies to recognize and match feelings to events, and offer tools to regulate emotions’ intensity. For instance, they can simulate social scenarios, allowing individuals to practice and learn emotional responses in a controlled environment. In terms of social skills development, technologies present realistic social interactions, helping individuals with autism to understand and adhere to social norms, recognize emotions, and improve communication skills.


Mariia Maliuta
Mariia Maliuta (Copywriter) "Woman of the Word" in BeKey; technical translator/interpreter & writer

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