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Apps for Your #AutLife

Like anyone else’s day-to-day life, autistic life has its challenges. A good deal of ours relate to social communication, sensory issues, and executive function fails. And luckily, those are exactly the sorts of things with which tech can provide great support. Autistics did, after all, invent most of it, right?

Recently I took to #AutisticTwitter to crowdsource this list of apps used by real-life people in their real lives. Each one is someone’s favourite. Hopefully there’s something here for you1Recommended apps are U.S.-based. Look for similar apps for your area.

Distraction Apps

There are times when you need to get your head *out* of the game. Maybe you’re hyperfocusing when you need to rest. Maybe you’re wound up after a sensory assault in the city. Whatever the reason, turning to the app in your pocket can bring a sense of calm when you need it most.

These 100% non-productive apps could add the oasis in your day your mind craves. The trick is to choose something that’s engaging enough that your mind doesn’t wander but not so engrossing that you’re trading one hyperfocus for another.

Chromaldry

Promises to “Turn your photos into a coloring book.” Any photo you choose is transformed into a line drawing on which you “finger paint”. Messy, colouring outside the lines is encouraged.

$4.99 on the App Store

Mindfulness Coloring

Coloring apps for adults is a collection of detailed illustration “books” ready for you to colour.

$0.99 on the App Store

Blendoku

“A puzzle game that will challenge your ability to distinguish and arrange colors. The game is based on color principles and exercises taught in art schools around the world.”

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

MEDITATION Apps

Whether learning to meditate for the first time or practicing our 10,000th hour, the Internet has the app for you.

Headspace

Learn how to calm the mind, train your focus, understand your anger and more with this app. A range of sleep stories and soundtracks are available by subscription.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Calm

Daily meditations, music, video sessions and more to help you connect body to mind and improve your wellbeing overall.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Time & Task Management Apps

Hello Executive Function! How are you?! When you struggle with keeping track of time or completing tasks, apps can be enormously helpful in making the most of your day.

Google Calendar

This popular tool is a robust calendar that integrates with your other Google services. Schedule what you want to do and get reminders when it’s time to get to it.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

KanbanFlow

Kanban is a Japanese system for tracking all the things you’d like to do and what needs to be worked on in a day. This simple app allows you to stay on task with color-coded “cards” combined with limits you set. Want to know how I use Kanban? Ask me on Twitter!.

Free

Motivation Apps

Level Up Life

Level Up Life allows you to gamify your personal goals. Track your daily achievements and gain motivation while progressing in an RPG-style online platform.

Free on Google Play

Calm

Daily meditations, music, video sessions and more to help you connect body to mind and improve your wellbeing overall.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Grocery & Meal-Delivery Apps

For days when you just can’t feed yourself well or to ensure you always have nutritious meals and snacks on hand, try these apps.

Instacart

Get access to everything your local grocery has in-store. Instacart’s local shoppers personally pick your order then bring it straight to you. Available in the U.S. and Canada.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Amazon Fresh

Grocery delivery with Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime Now. Large urban centres currently enjoy free 2-hour delivery from Whole Foods Market and local restaurants. App available on Amazon.com

Free

GrubHub

One of many (many!) delivery apps that access most local restaurants in an area. Cooking for yourself is most healthy and economical but sometimes getting a meal on the table is all that counts.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

2nd Brain Apps

Because no one can keep all the plates spinning in the air at all times, make tech come to your rescue. These apps allow you to offload some of the thoughts that occupy valuable processing bandwidth and even remind you to check in. What’s not to love?

Google Keep

Allows you to do more than jot notes. You can set location- and time-based alerts that help you follow through, dictate reminders, snap photos, share lists, and more!

Free on Google Play Free on the App Store

Evernote

The granddaddy of note-taking apps. Dictate notes, doodle, and share it all.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Communication Apps

QuickTalk AAC

This highly customizable app allows you to choose from 50 voices in 24 languages or record a voice of your choice.

(Listed as “Quick Type AAC” on Google Play.)

$24.99 on the App Store $24.99 on Google Play

WhatsApp

Standard messaging apps like WhatsApp allow you to communicate by text when other methods are not available. In a pinch, you can type and show your device to the person in front of you. Not super clever but effective when you need it.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Twitter

Social media can be a social boon for the autistic communication style. Find your community and make friend thru hashtags like #ActuallyAutistic. More on how to find your people here!

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Flip Writer AAC

“Every word you type will be shown in the flipped display. Offers high-quality text-to-speech” in four different voices. Perfect for conversations IRL.

$49.99 on the App Store

Apps For Getting Around

Commuting and travelling can take all our mental resources, leaving little for when we arrive. Sure there are great map apps out there but apps like these take things up a very useful notch.

Transit

Your public-transit companion currently available in ten countries. Clear visuals not only allow you plan your trip but you can monitor upcoming arrivals and count down to when you need to exit your bus or subway car.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Waze

We like to know what’s up ahead of time. “Always know what’s happening on the road with Waze. Even if you know the way, Waze tells you instantly about traffic, construction, police, crashes, & more. If traffic is bad on your route, Waze will change it to save you time.”

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Health & Wellbeing Apps

Because when it comes to feeling good, strong, and balanced, who doesn’t need all the help we can get?

Daylio

A mood tracker and personal diary because neuroscience has proven that getting your thoughts out of your mental churning can be incredibly beneficial for every person at a every age. Track the highs and lows of every day so you can spot patterns that affect your moods. Brilliant!

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Youper

An AI assistant that helps you monitor and take control of your emotional health. We love robots and robots love us.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Woebot

A charming CBT “Self-Care Expert” bot designed to help you think through life situations and learn about yourself through prompts.

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Clue

“Accurately predicts your period, helps you understand your symptoms, and can be used as a reliable ovulation app, menstrual calendar, fertility tracker, birth control pill reminder, and menstrual cycle tracker complete with your period history.”

Free on the App Store Free on Google Play

Special Interest Apps

Any app that’s centred on a topic that you’re interested is a good way to quickly regulate your mood or reactions. Love adorable animals? There’s an app for that: Cute Animals — Aww! on iTunes. A fan of tracking weather? Yep, there’s an app for that too: Accuweather on Google Play.

Whatever interests you, find an app that will deliver it in abundance at your fingertips. Then, when you feel the pressure rising, destress with some happy time.


There are LOADS more out there in the wild. If you have a tremendously useful app that could change a life for the better, share it here in the comments or on Twitter, using the hashtag #AutLife!


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