Developer: Mighty Kingdom
Platform: iPad (English)
Category: Behaviorial Autism Apps
iModeling Boundaries is a unique autism app that deals with an issue that is very important, but rarely discussed in autism circles. The distinct features of this app are designed to teach children about personal space boundaries within relationships. It opens the gateway and provides a foundation for dealing with this sensitive subject matter in a serious, yet approachable way. Through the use of pictures and categories, parents and caregivers can use iModeling Boundaries to teach children if, how, and when it is appropriate to allow others to touch them. In addition, this app demonstrates when it is appropriate to touch others.
Importance of Teaching Personal Space Boundaries
Understanding personal space boundaries can be difficult for individuals with autism. Many individuals on the spectrum already have significant deficits in speech, language, and communication. These deficits can ultimately result in impaired social interaction and judgment. So, it is often challenging for ASD individuals to determine if or when it is appropriate to touch others and if or when it is appropriate to let others touch them.
Teaching this skill is vital, especially if the child is in the care of several different individuals on a frequent basis. He or she needs to understand the importance of touch in various relationships in order to avoid inappropriate physical contact with others. Additionally, the child needs to be capable of and feel comfortable communicating this information with others. iModeling Boundaries provides an outlet for facilitating this process.
How Does it Work?
Autism Apps: Customization Is Key
The app allows the parent or caregiver to create a profile for the child. Within the profile, photos of various individuals can be added. Ideally, the photos will be of individuals that the child has contact with on a regular basis both in the home and within the community. This may include pictures of the child’s teachers, sport’s coaches, therapists, doctors, and immediate and extended family members. If photos of these individuals are not readily available, standard pictures that come with the app may be selected.
Once the selection of photos is chosen, the group or relationship categories can be edited. This app includes groups of predetermined categories such as “People you know,” “People you don’t know,” “Medical and professional care,” and “Family and friends.”
Custom categories can be added to accommodate other groups of individuals that may be present in the child’s environment. When categories are selected, a touch boundary must be designated for each group. These personal space boundaries include: no touch, hand to hand contact, personal care, medical and professional care, and hugs and kisses.
After the photos and categories have been chosen, the child can sort the people into specific groups. The goal is for the child to appropriately identify the individuals who should have no, limited, or intimate contact with them. The child has complete control of this function. Unfortunately, the app does not allow the parent or caregiver to restrict which groups or categories each individual can be placed in. This feature would have been beneficial for younger children who may need more parameters and guidance in this area. However, when the child finishes sorting the photos, the parent or caregiver can review each group. If the pictures are not sorted satisfactorily, they can be rearranged.
Alternatively, the child can use the app to communicate when they have questions or concerns about personal space boundaries. Nonverbal children can access the photos and place them into specific categories to communicate physical exchanges after they have already occurred. This can alert parents and caregivers to potential problems or immediate concerns.
Who Should Use iModeling Boundaries?
Anyone who has a young child or adolescent with communication delays or impairments and who is in the care of others for a significant portion of the day should consider using this app. iModeling Boundaries uses visual and tactile modalities to help young children understand the boundaries of personal space and physical contact. More importantly, it helps them communicate if, when, and how these boundaries are crossed. Autism apps like this one can also help parents and guardians feel more comfortable and confident when entrusting the care of their kids to others. iModeling Boundaries opens vital lines of communication while enlightening and educating both parent and child.
This post was written by guest author Teri T., a homeschool mom of two kids on the spectrum, and someone who uses autism apps on a daily basis. Show your appreciation by sharing her review on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you, Teri!