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A new interactive iPad app is set to change for the better and forever the way parents interact with their autistic children.
Developed by Professor Svetha Venkatesh and her research team now based at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus, the Toby Playpad is a high-performance early intervention app.p
By empowering parents to deliver therapy outcomes at home, the app addresses a critical gap – the time parents have to wait to access therapy - after their child has been diagnosed with autism.
"So this will have a profound impact on the lives of families," Professor Venkatesh said.
Typically an autistic child would need about 30 hours of therapy a week.
"In order to prepare the materials for therapy, the parents have to spend another 30 hours, so it is horrendous in terms of time and effort," Professor Venkatesh said.
“Toby Playpad allows a parent to do the early intervention learning with the child at home. It enables learning both on and off the iPad in a principled way.
“It also saves therapists and parents the time they have to spend manually evaluating and recording a child’s progress.
“Simply, Toby Playpad does that for them.
“It adjusts lessons and customises learning to the child’s preferences.
"If you are in a classroom and the teacher is teaching 30 kids, they are basically gearing the lesson to the average in the class, but TOBY is geared to you.
"The potential for this is far beyond autism really.
“It affords a platform for all early learning – in numeracy and literacy - and there are exciting opportunities ahead.”
The software will be released through the app store in April.
The app was expected to cost about $100 and would be available by subscription.