Home > Corporate Sponsors, Family Services > New, Cool and Way More Portable PECS

New, Cool and Way More Portable PECS

This post is by Sheila Sullivan. Sheila, a veteran member of the Autism Speaks awareness team, also manages the organization’s branding, merchandising and licensing. She has a tendency to get really excited about things that help people in the autism community directly and even more excited when people and companies step forward to help Autism Speaks fulfill its mission. You will be hearing more from Sheila, no doubt!

Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes. The best ideas are often born from a need that isn’t met – and iPrompts®, from HandHold Adaptive, is one of them. When the inventors of this App for iPhone® and iPod Touch® learned that their son with autism, like many other children who struggle with developmental and language disabilities, greatly benefits from the structure and clarity provided by visual aids, they used picture-based schedules and choice boards to help him transition between activities, communicate his needs, and stay on task. However, they were frustrated by the tools available – printing and laminating pictures, losing plastic symbols magnets, transporting bulky notebooks – finding them unwieldy and not nearly as portable as they would like. They channeled their frustration into designing something better. The result: HandHold Adaptive and its first product, iPrompts®, were born.

iPrompts® is, in essence, PECS for iPhone® and iPod Touch® users – caregivers, parents, teachers – that makes use of technologies available to make this previously bulky, unwieldy process portable and simple.  HandHold Adaptive is donating 10% of the sales of the iPrompts® app to Autism Speaks.

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  1. Tracy Ceneus
    May 27, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Do you guys have this app for blackberry users and if not that would be good if u guys did because I own a blackberry..and I would love to have this app for my son who is autistic:)

  2. Matt Brock
    May 27, 2010 at 11:55 am

    iPrompts offers some really cool ways to provide visual support. However, this product, as described on HandHold Adaptive’s website (http://www.handholdadaptive.com/), is NOT (and was never intended to be)a portable version of PECS. Visual supports and PECS are not the same thing. PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) is a 6-phase communication intervention that involves the exhcange of picture symbols. In HandHold Adaptive’s words, iPrompts is a program that can “help individuals transition from one activity to the next, understand upcoming events, make choices, and focus on the task at hand”.

    • Sheila Sullivan
      May 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm

      Hi, Matt, this the blog post author. You’re absolutely right, it is not a replacement for PECS per se; rather, my lay-person’s over-simplified description of the App’s picture based functionality. I do encourage everyone to read Rob Tedesco’s comment that explains iPrompts in more detail and visit HandHold Adaptive’s website. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Alexandra
    May 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I think its great so far, but really large. Is it possible, to get thoes app on normal cellphones too? If yes that really would be something. But I think it will help a lot of familys with autistic children.

  4. S.K.
    May 27, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    This is fantastic! My 26 year old son who does not drive yet, but has his own apartment and a full-time job, told me recently his iphone has been a huge help to him in getting through his day, staying on task, remembering what he needs to do next – finding directions to get places without having to rely on info from strangers all the time – the iphone apps get rid of unreliable middlemen when it comes to getting info! It’s really helped him stay organized and get this done, which means he remains independant and successful. While we were talking I realized how iphones could help other teens and young adults with autism – and then this morning I saw this article and got so excited!!!! I can’t wait to tell him about iPrompts. Though he works well with his iPhone he’ll be gratified to know that it’s not just him, but that others are benefiting from the tools too!

  5. May 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Hi everyone, this is Rob from HandHold Adaptive (makers of iPrompts). Thanks Sheila for the great post! Just to address a few comments:

    1) iPrompts runs on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The 8GB iPod Touch is a nice device for running apps and isn’t too costly ($200 or less at most outlets, with no monthly service contract).

    2) Our website at http://www.iprompts.com offers lots of information — ordering tips (click on “HOW TO ORDER”), some great feedback from our growing base of thousands of users (click on “Testimonials”), a video tutorial, a sign-up sheet for free online Webinars, and so on.

    3) iPrompts is indeed designed as a picture-prompting app for caregivers, and so depending on its use, may not fall under the literal categorization of “PECS” — but more and more, we see “PECS” used to encompass all of picture-based communications, and iPrompts certainly fits within this realm.

    You’re all quite welcome to email me with specific questions (robtedesco@handholdadaptive.com). I’ll also keep checking this thread!

    Thanks to Autism Speaks for helping spread the word! We have very big plans to expand iPrompts and launch other exciting apps — can’t wait to work more with Autism Speaks as we make it happen!

  6. Scott Williams
    May 27, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I Prompts

  7. Delta
    May 27, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    This would be great if we could get it on the Android Market. My 4yr old son struggles a lot with public places and crowds and turns in to my phone for peace. It would be nice to be able to use it to help him transition as well as focus!

  8. Debra Stewart
    May 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Love this idea and we have an iTouch, so I will definitely check it out. Our 4 1/2 yr. was diagnosed with ASD back in Feb. of this year and we have been doing the PECS but it is bulky and hard to keep up with, plus the cost of laminating, printer cartridges, etc. He resonds so well to visual ques I can’t see a downside to it right now. He also knows how to manipulate the iTouch himself and I feel he would respond to the iPrompts well. Thank you to the designers of this app! p.s. I also have a Blackberry and would LOOOOOVE to see it available on that platform as well.

  9. Christie Martin
    May 27, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Do they make it for MyTouch / Droid phones? Those are similar to the iPhone and iTouch.

  10. KK
    May 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I have a BlackBerry storm & would love to have the app for the storm too!!!!!!

  11. Sandra
    May 28, 2010 at 10:06 am

    This would be so fantastic…now if we could only afford and iPad for Jack! Lol….

  12. May 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    this is a way cheaper device and program ! it allows you to use a nintendo ds dsi dsi xl or dsi lite device and download it check it out taptotalk.com

  13. diana
    June 18, 2010 at 11:17 am

    any chance of getting this for webOS-PALM PRE

  14. Tony
    February 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    For PECS like app, I will recommend Picture AAC ( http://heartyspin.com/solutions/pictureaac/ ). In the past, I had to spend much time to print & laminate PECS pictures. With Picture AAC app, it’s portable (works on both iPad and iPhone/iPod) and easy to add pictures and voice. I tried other apps which either have too many features which is confusing to the kids I work with or is too basic. Like the app and happy to share about it. Also, here is a great link to find out more about PECS: http://www.pecs.com/webcasts/overview.php

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