"Autism Discovery Tool: Sensory from Within" by Spectrum Idea Lab is an innovate app that was designed as a communication tool to help with the conversation about autism and sensory processing. It can be used with those who have autism to help them to gain self awareness. It can also be used as an educational tool for parents, siblings, classmates, extended family or friends who want to gain an insight into autism and sensory processing. The app may also be used by teachers and therapists to further their learning and development.
There are seven sensory experiences to explore in the "Autism Discovery Tool: Sensory from Within" app. These sensory experiences are vision (in a library), hearing (in a classroom), smell (in a kitchen), taste (make a smoothie), touch (in a shower), balance (in a playground), body position (playing mini golf).
I will show you some screenshots through the "smell" experience to provide an explanation of this app. On the first page labelled "typical" you will find a picture of the scene (in this case a kitchen) and a definition (visual and auditory explanation) of the sensory area . There is also a picture of a suitcase on the top right of the screen which is a sensory "toolbox".
Each sensory system has an explanation (visual and auditory explanation) of how some people are oversensitive, others undersensitive, others have a distortion of the sense and others have an enhanced sense. There are various animations that occur depending on each of these variations. For example in "smell" the puffs of steam that rise from various items in the "kitchen" change as you explore the various sensitivities a person may experience in relation to smell.
There are several sensory "strategies" to uncover for each sense which are added to the sensory "toolbox" as you open them. There is a verbal explanation and sometimes an animation of the sensory strategy that matches. In this example, there is an explanation about adjusting airflow whilst you open the window. These strategies can be access at any time during the discovery of smell (eg. whilst exploring undersensitive, typical, distorted, etc).
Once all the strategies are found, you can review them in the toolbox. You can also start over with the rewind button in the bottom right hand corner.
When re-starting the app, the whole app may be "reset" to use again with a different person or to begin the discovery again. You may select any sense and there is no particular order required when using the app.
The "Autism Discovery Tool: Sensory from Within" app is unique and provides a user-friendly interface to explain how sensory triggers may impact a person with autism both in terms of strengths and challenges. It also provides some sensory strategies which may be of benefit to those with sensory sensitivities. Whilst the app was designed for people with autism, the explanations relating to sensory sensitivities and strategies may also be applicable to others who experience sensory processing or modulation disorders.
This app is a fantastic educational tool! I think that it is ideally used between someone keen to learn and someone with some understanding of autism and sensory processing (such as an occupational therapist). It is possible to navigate this app without any prior knowledge, however, there may be further explanations required. This app would be suitable for 1:1 conversations or even presented to a group of people. The app is suitable for children as they will enjoy the interactive nature of the pages, however they will probably not be able to take in all the information at one time. They will also need an adult to help to navigate through the app depending on their age and abilities.
Overall this app helps the reader to gain insight and empathy for those with autism through an understanding of their sensory experiences. It is a really unique app that lets you "experience" sensory environments through the play features.
April is Autism Awareness Month, so help raise awareness about Autism and share this useful app with those in your work place, mother's groups, FB groups, family and friends. Do you know someone who would benefit from this app? Make sure you enter the giveaway below (open to Australian residents only)!
Disclosure: Autism Discovery Tool: Sensory From Within App was gifted to Your Kids OT for editorial consideration. Spectrum Idea Lab have also gifted 5 promo codes towards a giveaway of this app. I received no remuneration for this post and will receive no commission from any purchases of this app. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my expertise, experience and personal opinion.
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Hi, I'm Cindy and I am an Occupational Therapist. I enjoy working creatively with children to see them reach their potential. Read more about me here.
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Disclaimer: The information on this site is general in nature and should be used for educational and entertainment purposes. The activities are safe for most children, however, you should consult an Occupational Therapist or health professional to address specific movement, sensory or other medical conditions. This blog does not replace formal therapeutic professional advice given by a health professional or medical practitioner. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand. Content, advertising space or posts will be clearly identified if paid, affiliated or sponsored. Affiliate links may be found throughout this website in advertising. This means that if you follow through with a purchase from these links, Your Kids OT will receive a percentage of the sale. Your Kids OT undertakes to meet the requirements of the "Social Media Policy" as published by Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Further information about this policy can be found here.
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