New smartphone app helps children with autism communicate better

A smartphone application that has potential to help children with autism communicate more effectively is now available for download.

Developed by Keith Allen, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute, the app uses evidence-based naturalistic teaching procedures to foster communication.

"We wanted to help parents do more to help their children learn basic communication skills. We wanted to develop something that could assist parents right in their homes, and we wanted something that was supported by research," Dr. Allen said. "Naturalistic teaching that provides pictures of objects and prompts for parents fit all of these requirements."

"We" is Dr. Allen and BehaviorApp, LLC -- a Lincoln, Neb.-based smartphone app development company.

"This will allow us to put the experience of a professional like Dr. Allen into the hands of many families of children with autism," said Evelyn Bartlett, BehaviorApp CEO.

Dr. Allen emphasized that the app is designed to supplement, not substitute trained professionals who specialize in treating speech and communication problems in children with autism.

A limited number of apps, which retail for $24.99, are being offered free of charge to families of children with autism. For more information, contact Craig Lutz-Prefect at BehaviorApp, LLC at or 402-426-2444.

The CDC's most recent figures reported that 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

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