A new app released by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) aims to help children on the autism spectrum feel more comfortable around strangers and empower them to reach out to first responders and other community members when they need help.
The app, titled “Community Helpers,” was released by the parent app Camp Discovery, a group of evidence-based games supporting autistic kids. “Community Helpers” launched on April 2, kicking off Autism Awareness Month.
“While we often teach children to avoid strangers, it is important to teach children about the people available to assist them in the community,” said Dennis Dixon, Ph.D., chief strategy officer at CARD, in a press release. The game helps kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) learn about different types of helpful people in their communities—teachers, doctors, police officers, and firefighters, among others.
The goal is to teach kids to identity these people by their job titles, as well as educate them about what these professionals do, and where to find them. “In cases of emergency, children with ASD have been known to retreat from first responders, putting themselves at risk when they are most vulnerable,” according to the press release.
With more than 50 autism-specific games in development, Camp Discovery will release a new learning app each week, including productions focusing on letters, numbers, locations, body parts, and emotions.