Updated 03/30/2012 05:46 PM
Program helping children with autism improve social skills
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GREENVILLE, N.C. — Children with autism are increasingly using computers and iPads to develop their social skills and now a new program called The Social Express is teaching them how to read body language and social skills.
Marc Zimmerman, creator of the program, credits his inspiration to his twin boys who both have autism. Zimmerman said he has already seen the difference the program can make.
"One twin would say to the other, 'Hey, remember to say thank-you like in Social Express,' and they would make reference to it and it was just heartwarming," said Zimmerman.
Schools in Pender and Yadkin County are now using the program as are many parents at home. Katie Holler has five young girls and three of them live with autism. Holler said programs like The Social Express coupled with other types of therapy can make a big difference in behavior.
According to Holler, iPad apps are are beneficial because children enjoy them and it keeps them focused.
"The fact that they're asking for it and enjoy playing on it, to me, is a positive and it's showing that it's effective," said Holler.
Recently, a CDC study showed that 1 out of every 88 children in the US have some form of autism so programs like this are on the cutting edge of education for those children. In The Social Express, children are given situations and must read body or facial cues to determine the correct response.
This hones the interpersonal skills that a many people take for granted but may be more difficult to develop for someone with autism. To learn more about The Social Express visit the program's website.