Apps for Your #AutLife

Woman on tablet

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 app on iPhone

Chromaldry ($4.99 on iTunes) 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.

Mindfulness Art Therapy image of a partially coloured-in illustration

Mindfulness Art Therapy – Coloring apps for adults ($2.99 for 5 apps on iTunes) is a collection of detailed illustration “books” ready for you to colour.

Blendoku (Free on iTunes & Google Play. Both offer in-app purchases. iPad version available.) is a puzzle game that challenges you to

Meditation Apps

When you’re looking for a full meditation experience, there are some immensely popular apps out there. Whether learning to meditate for the first time or practicing our 10,000th hour, the Internet has the app for you.

Headspace app logo

Headspace (Free on iTunes and Google Play). 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.

Calm app logo

Calm (Free on iTunes and Google Play). Daily meditations, music, video sessions and more to help you connect body to mind and improve your wellbeing overall.

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 app logo

Google Calendar (Free on iTunes, Google Play, and on desktop). 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.

KanbanFlow (Free). 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!

Motivation Apps

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

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 app logo

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 iTunes and Google Play.

AmazonFresh logo

Grocery delivery with Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime Now (Amazon apps are free on iTunes and Google Play.) Large urban centres currently enjoy free 2-hour delivery from Whole Foods Market and local restaurants.

Grubhub logo

Grubhub (Free on iTunes and Google Play) is 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.

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 app logo

Google Keep (Free on iTunes, Google Play, and on desktop) 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!

Evernote (Free on iTunes, Google Play, and on desktop) is the granddaddy of note-taking apps. Dictate notes, doodle, and share it all.

Apps for Better Communication

QuickTalk AAC ($24.99 on iTunes, and Google Play (as “Quick Type), and on Amazon). This highly customizable app allows you to choose from 50 voices in 24 languages or record a voice of your choice.

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 these take things up a very useful notch.

Transit app logo

Transit (Free on iTunes and Google Play) is a 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.

Health & Wellbeing Apps

Daylio (Free on iTunes and Google Play) is a mood tracker and personal diary. Track the highs and lows of every day so you can spot patterns that affect your moods. Brilliant!

Youper (Free on iTunes and Google Play) is an AI assistant that helps you monitor and take control of your emotional health.

Woebot (Free on iTunes and Google Play) is a charming CBT robot designed to help you think through life situations and learn about yourself.

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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