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Resource Guide

Neurodivergent Apps and Equipment

March 28th, 2024

AutismBC

For Everyone

Everyone sometimes needs help staying focused, calming down, or keeping organized, and sensory-friendly apps, equipment, and other tools can help. Many in-person and online resources can support neurodivergent people during transitions and challenges.

This is an extensive list of tools and apps you can use for yourself, your kids, or your entire family to help you navigate this wonderful, diverse journey of life – that we sometimes have a hard time keeping up with! 

This list has items designed for the entire family—not just the kids—but remember that if your child qualifies for it, Autism Funding may cover the cost of the equipment and applications. If you have a ‘shared family’ within your iPhone settings, you can often share apps for the whole family under one purchase.  

Table of Contents

This resource is organized into the following categories. Remember, you can use the Cntrl F function to search for anything specific.

Sensory Equipment
Apps & Computer Programs
A person closing their eyes with over-ear headphones on. They're in front of a blue background wearing a dark blue shirt. (Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels)
A person closing their eyes with over-ear headphones on. They’re in front of a blue background wearing a dark blue shirt. (Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels)
Sensory Equipment
Noise Cancelling:

Noise Cancelling or Filtering Earplugs: Loop earplugs or Vibe Earplugs (Great for lessening the sensory noises in the environment around you).

Sony Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones (Wireless, Bluetooth, and noise cancelling capabilities)

Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Bose or Airpods (Music capability with Bluetooth and noise cancelling features). 

Noise Reduction Headphones (Great for events or just outings where extra noise and sensory may be present! We use them at grocery stores and family events). 

Wireless headphones (Some of the best cost-efficient wireless/Bluetooth/rechargeable headphones for use with phones, tablets, and iPads).

Ear Plugs: Sometimes, we forget about good old-fashioned earplugs. They are cheap and efficient, and if you lose one or two, they are easily replaceable.  

 

Noise Calming or Soothing
:

Sound Machines: White Noise, nature sounds or classical music: noise machines have been shown to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels

Alexa, Echo Dot, Google Nest: On demand (voice activated) assistant for music on demand, information, organization, weather and more!

Indoor Water Falls: If you like the sound of running or trickling water, an indoor waterfall may be just what you need to calm your nervous system when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.

 

Regulation – Deep Pressure
:

Weighted blankets (May provide similar benefits to deep pressure therapy. These blankets have shown positive results for several conditions, including autism, ADHD, and anxiety: they help calm a restless body, reduce feelings of anxiety, and improve sleep troubles)

Compression Sheets (Great for providing deep pressure sensory for sleeping, calming down, extra security, or sensory anxiety or seeking individuals)

Sensory Sock (SensoryBody Socks for Autism, Helps Kids with ASD, Sensory Den Fidget Anxiety & Spatial Awareness Aids, to Relieve Stress, Self-Claming, Relaxing)  

Compression Clothing (Weighted jackets, clothing and compression vests are commonly recommended by Occupational Therapists for use to increase comfort, attention span and reduce hyperactivity and anxiety)

Weighted Vests (provide steady proprioceptive input and deep pressure around the trunk which is especially calming for adults and kids with autism, ADHD, or sensory processing disorders)

Weighted Shoulder wraps or lap pads or stuffed animals: Promotes calmness, Reduces restlessness, Increases concentration and sustained attention, Promotes body awareness (feeling where your body is in space)

Kids Steamroller – Some children crave deep pressure, this is a fun way to get it! Your children will love the challenge of crawling between the rollers and being flattened.

 

Lights
:

Dimmable Light Switches (If you own your house or if you rent you could ask the landlord to have these installed throughout the house – being able to dim and control the lighting is so beneficial if you are sensory sensitive!)

Fibre Optic Sensory Lights – awesome for lighting and touching!

Lava Lamps – hours of sensory watching fun; and nostalgic!

Galaxy Light Projector – one of the best night lights or for your room or office or sensory room!

Blue Light Bulbs – Great for lamps or rooms to soften the lighting

Bubble Tube Floor Lamps – Lights, Bubbles and little floating fish – I love these even as an adult!

Strip lights – Can be installed around any room or frame and most come with a remote with controllable lighting options.

 

Movement
:

Yoga Balls – for exercise, rolling, stretching and bouncing; and for anyone that likes deep pressure you can lay on the floor and have someone roll the ball with some pressure on top of you for a nice sensory activity.  

Childrens Treadmill – the kids version of a non powered treadmill: awesome for running off that energy inside the house. 

Indoor Trampoline – amazing options for adults AND kids for indoor movement

Adult Treadmill/Bike/Elliptical – having indoor equipment allows for exercise on the days you aren’t able to leave the house or for the days you don’t prefer to socialize

Punching Bags – Another great option for adults and children that need an outlet to get out those big feelings. Don’t forget to get a pair of gloves to go with it!  

 

Clothing

Fuzzy Socks and slippers (Fuzzy, scented for comfort and warmth. Cold floors or walking from different surfaces can be a sensory trigger)

Bath Robes (Terry or Sherpa are great options for warmth, comfort or freedom of less restrictive clothing)

Sensory Friendly Clothing (No seams, tags, soft material, etc): Adaptability Clothing, Bamboo Clothing , Sensationally You Clothing, Soft, Smart Knit Kids, Kozie Clothes, Therapro

Weighted Clothing:

Sensory Friendly Socks: World’s Softest makes over 40 different soft and comfortable socks for men and woman. This site is great for older individuals who are sensory sensitive and need soft socks.

Sensory Friendly Bathing suits: No Netz focuses on one product: Bathing suits for men and boys with no lining or net. For many the lining in bathing suits can cause skin irritation and chaffing. It can be very difficult for children with autism or sensory challenges to enjoy swimming when the lining rubs against the skin. 

 

Books and Journals

Wreck this journal – For anyone who’s ever had trouble starting, keeping, or finishing a journal or sketchbook comes this expanded edition of Wreck This Journal, a subversive illustrated book that challenges readers to muster up their best mistake- and mess-making abilities to fill the pages of the book—or destroy them.

5 minute journal – Cultivates Gratitude and Mindfulness – Journaling allows you to appreciate your life more for at least 5 minutes a day. The 5 Minute Journal for women and men is specially crafted for positive manifestation and improved confidence as you get on with your day.

Big Life Journal – A journal that encourages positivity and growth mindset! They have versions for kids, teens and adults!  

Growth Mindset Printables (for kids and adults)

 

Furniture
:

Beanbag chairs – great for lounging and resting while supporting your sensory needs!

Swinging/Hanging Chairs – perfect for inside if your space allows or on your patio. Standing frames are available for hanging chairs!

Yoogibo – The Yogibo is the only furniture on the market to fully conform to the user’s body with zero pressure points – Its quite unique for beanbag options and we love ours in this house!

Hanging Egg Chair – Great for inside or outside: Snuggle up and read or relax and enjoy the motion. It’s the adult version of the sensory swing that can be used by all ages!

Rocking/Gliding Chairs – great options for those that have sensory seeking for movement and regulation.

Sensory Swings – can be purchased for use of all ages! Look into the Aerial swings if your shopping for an adult; they are cozy to be able to get inside and just stretch it over you and relax in.  

 
Communication:

Scanmarker pen: – The Scanmarker apps will read the text back to you in real-time while scanning! Aids with memorization and reading comprehension, and is an effective assistive tool for those with dyslexia or other reading difficulties

Cell Phones/Ipads – This is where technology really thrives! Check out some of the communication and speech apps listed below. 

Talker Buddy Communication Device: A simple remote for communication.

Lingraphica– A device designed specifically for AAC; Communicate in four different ways. Improve your speech and comprehension through a series of activities, videos, and quizzes. Connect with others online or bring the device wherever you go.

 

Regulation/Calming Items:

Fit Bit or Step Counter: Loved by kids and adults to track movement, progress and encourage healthy lifestyle living

Fidgets and Sensory Toys (all ages) – fidgeting promotes focus and regulation for anxious or hyperactivity and will often aide with learning and attention.

Adult Fidgets: These fidgets were made with small pieces and metal – with adult only needs in mind!

Microwave/Coolable Bean Bags – Warm for comfort/Cold for sensory and the resetting the nervous system.

Microwavable Stuffy Animals (Warmth, Comfort, snuggling and regulating)

Sleep Masks – weighted, fuzzy, soft, heavy, light – You name it there will be one out there that will fit your needs to keep out the light when you just need a break!

 

House Cleaning Gadgets:

Robot Vacuum: Recently listed in one of the autism parent groups as a must-have item! Many similar products can pair with apps as well.

Robot Mop: Where a robot vacuum exists, the sequel that will also wash your floors for you!

Cordless Vacuum: no cord means no dragging around cords or hoses as well!

A Macbook on a desk next to pens, a cell phone, and a memo pad. (Lukas/Pexels)
A Macbook on a desk next to pens, a cell phone, and a memo pad. (Lukas/Pexels)
Apps & Computer Programs
 
Children’s Apps:

Choice Works: is an app for establishing visual schedules for transitioning students and children through multi-step tasks and routines, like getting ready in the morning, or calming down when they’re upset. This app can be useful for any children who need help adapting to a schedule, managing time or improving patience and Choiceworks Calender

Cosmic Kids: screentime that gives kids superpowers.  Hundreds of videos and stories to inspire movement, self-awareness and FUN!  

First Then Visual Schedule HD: Does your child do well with first-then boards and visual schedules? This app allows your family to have audio-visual representations of routines, activities, sequences and transitions at your fingertips and on the go

Go Noodle:  Aimed at physical health, mental wellness and self discovery for kids and their families.   Activities for breathing, dancing, stretching and other fun forms.   

GoTalk Now: Attainment has been making augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools for 25 years.  It’s a fully functional augmentative communication app for those who have difficulty speaking. Create up to three personalized communication pages in this free app!

iCreate… Social Skills Stories:  An app to help you create your own social stories for transitions or new experiences.  You can combine visual, audio and text to create their own story books with unlimited pages. All steps and storylines can be rearranged and personalized, including the opportunity to import personal photos.

LeeLoo: Is an AAC app separated into categories and phrases which can be read aloud. 

Proloquo2Go: This is another symbol-based AAC app that supports development of key language skills and can be used as a daily communication tool for non-speaking individuals. It’s customizable, from voice to vocabulary to appearance, and designed to support all users from beginning to advanced.

Speech Blubs: This speech learning app is a beneficial tool to support language therapy. It aims to help children speak more effectively, sooner and confidently, and its creators took children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental delays into consideration when building it.

Visual Timer:  This app is a simple visual timer app which allows you to see the timer moving in a visual way with fun backgrounds for kids.  

Bitsboard Flashcards PRO: Bitsboard is another interactive learning app with more than 35 educational activities, including thousands of flashcard decks, memory cards, word builders, photo hunts, sequencing games and more.

Speech Blubs 2: This “speech learning” app for kids is therapist-approved, allowing children with autism to activate language with fun speech-based activities

 

Apps for teens!

Habitica:  Gaming for your life! Turns tasks into a game.  It allows you to have an avatar and each time yu complete something on  your task list you level up! 

I Can’t Wake Up!: A great alarm clock that features options like having puzzles and math problems to complete before the alarm (Or song) can be turned off.   Ingress : Turn outside into a game.  Alternate reality app game that encourages you to walk where you live. 

Plant Nanny: A water tracker app that reminds you to drink water throughout the day.  In staying hydrated you keep your plant healthy. 

Worry Dolls: tell your worry to a worry doll and track it overtime.  You can look back on old worries. 

 

Sensory Apps
:

Fluid:  This app is full of mixing lights and colors which you can move around the screen. 

Heat Pad – This app has different sensory surfaces from heat pads to glow pads for different sensory needs. 

Anti-Stress:  A fidget toy app including fidget cubes, pop its and a toothpaste to squeeze.

 Magic Fluids Free: Magic Fluids app creates an interactive dynamic live wallpaper. For example, the user can touch the screen and enjoy beautiful motions of colorful smoke and water. With that simulation, it will help an individual with autism to calm down and relax while watching magical swirls of flowing colors.

 

Emotionally Regulating Apps:

BellyBio: Belly Bio is a biofeedback app that monitors your breathing when you rest tour device on your belly.  It plays music, sounds reminiscent of ocean waves and more while your relax – and its great for anxiety and stress

Calm: Mental health app for sleep, meditation and relaxation.  There are meditations, sleep stories, relaxing music, video lessons on movement and stretching, Work sessions for burnout and focus, Soundscapes to help you relax. 

Headspace: Meditation to help the health and happiness of the world!  Meditations, guided courses, challenges and sleep casts, music and soundscapes.

Mesmerize: Visual mediation app

 

Organization and Scheduling and Routines:

Asana: Not only helps you manage your individual work tasks but also organizes team projects so that every member is clear on what they need to do

Click Up: creates a centralized work hub to set clear priorities, manage time, stay updated, and keep on track.

Cozi: Simple family organizer! Track everyone’s activities in one shared place, Color codes show who is involved at a glance., Manage school events, the practice schedule, dentist appointments, vacations—whatever you need! Others in the family stay up to date with automatic notifications and agenda emails. Share the grocery list, to-dos, recipes, and more. Available from any mobile device or computer.

Named a “must-have app” by the TODAY show!
Otter.:  It allows you to take meeting notes automatically.  It lets you record and transcribe meetings. 

Bear: The idea behind Bear is the ability to access your notes wherever and whenever you find inspiration. This iOS-compatible note-taking app gives you the freedom to write everything from your grocery store checklist to in-depth essays with fast formatting options, links, in-line image support, and more.

Brain Focus: Brain Focus is a time-management application helping you getting things done! It can help you keep the focus on your work and manage your time easily

BuzzKill: An app that will let you see all your notifications in one place and filter them to only see the ones you want too.  Its super simple and super fast!

CacoonWeaver: audio notetaker which helps you collect your thoughts and transcribe them AND organize them!

Due: reminder app that adults with ADHD can use to combat forgetfulness and hyper fixation with easy-to-set timers that sync across your devices, iCloud, or Dropbox.

Emma – Budget Planner: This app allows you to track your spending and expenses.  It also allows you to set a budget and track paydays.    

Evernote: with powerful mobile and desktop apps to jot down your thoughts from virtually anywhere. With features to create tasks, build a schedule, and assign action items, Evernote takes personal note-taking a step further than other digital planner software

Fabulous: Find your ultimate daily routine and make it stick.  On demand coaching library, create structure, healthy habits, join a community, focus on deep work.

Forest: Stay Focused, Be present.  Forest is an app that helps you stay focused on the important things in life.  Whenever you want to stay focused, plant a free, your tree will grow while you focus on your work.  Leaving the app halfway will cause your tree to die. 

Goblin Tools:  is an online website: It takes a collection of small, simple, single-task tools, mostly designed to help neurodivergent people with tasks they find overwhelming or difficult. You can enter in a task and it breaks it down into steps or sections for you

Google Calendar: Very Visual! Google Calendar is free for personal use and part of Google Workspace’s suite of productivity tools. Perfect for adults with ADHD keeping track of meetings, setting social events, making appointments, time blocking, and more, Google Calendar aims to take the heavy lifting off of managing your schedule so you can simply enjoy it!

Google Keep:  Allows you to add photos, notes, audio and lists with the ability to change the color of notes and lists.  “Save your thoughts wherever you are!”

Habitica:  Gaming for your life! Turns tasks into a game.  It allows you to have an avatar and each time yu complete something on  your task list you level up! 

Multi-Timer:  This app allows you to run multiple timers at once with each timer having a different colour.  

Owaves:  Circular calendar which allows you to plan meals, exercise and sleep into your sleep routine. 

Routinery:  Allows you to create set morning and evening routines with visual reminders and timers. 

SimpleMindPro: is an intuitive mind mapping software to help you break down complex ideas, brainstorm, and plan out processes in a highly visual way. Like a family tree or a spider web stemming from one central concept, SimpleMind mind maps are an excellent ADHD productivity tool for remembering key details and understanding how every idea connects to the larger topic.

Sweepy: a home cleaning schedule helps you track the cleanliness of each room and prioritise the most urgent tasks. 

Tiimo: Is a planner ap that helps you with routines through visual schedules and reminders. 

Tiny Decisions:  if you struggle with making small simple decisions this app can help you choose.  (For example:  What you are having for dinner. 

Tody: Household cleaning organizing app

Visual Timer:  This app is a simple visual timer app which allows you to see the timer moving in a visual way. 

ToDoIst: Create daily to-do lists by creating checklist-style tasks, Can break up larger tasks on your list into subtasks, Natural language recognition assigns a time to tasks without having to scroll through numbers, Satisfying checkmark when tasks are completed

ToggleTrack: The best-time tracking pomodoro app.  Integrates with Toggl’s other time-tracking and invoicing tools. 

Trello: is a popular Kanban-style project management software that can help adults with ADHD create tasks, meet deadlines, and stick to their to-do lists. Created as a way for project managers to connect with team members and gain visibility into project progress, Trello serves a wide range of use cases and can also help individuals overcome feelings of disorganization when completing daily tasks.

 
Emotional/Health Tracking:

Bearable: Bearable allows you to track your mood, symptoms, sleep, energy and more! 

CareClinic: Struggling to manage your health day-to-day? You are not alone. Discover a new way to take control with the CareClinic App. Our patient-centric App helps organize your appointments, track your medications, symptoms, and consolidates your health data in one place. Simplify your health journey. Join CareClinic and get a complete view of your health. 

Clue: Track your menstrual cycle with Clue, the #1 doctor-recommended free period tracker app built in collaboration with top health researchers

Daily Bean: A simple journal for those who want to record their daily lives easily: Monthly calendar, tap the mood and activity icons for simple record, statistics that analyze mood and activity on a weekly/monthly basis. 

Guava: health management: manage chronic conditions, search for diagnosis, boost your overall health with tracking of lab results, symptom tracking, medications, cycle tracking, doctor notes, device metrics and emergency info. 

Medisafe: Gives you the chance to track your medication and set reminders to take it. 

Moodfit: helps you track your moods and gives you exercises to help address negative emotions. 

P Planner:  Menstrual & Ovulation calendar allows you to track your cycles and predict when your next period will commence and also track your moods associated to hormones. 

eMoods Wellness Tracker: Monitor your daily wellness and habits to improve your life.  Share reports with friends, family, doctors and therapist.  Track moods, health, exercise and medications.

 
Mental Health Apps

Calm Harm: focuses on combating self harm. Its good for coping with difficult emotions.

Better Stop Suicide: to simply help you press your own stop button should suicidal thoughts come to you. Remember ‘suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem’. And your calm thinking brain already knows that, doesn’t it.We really appreciate that your emotions may be running high, so much of the work in this app is to calm and slow your mind, and to help you to use your thinking brain.

Suicide Safety plan: allows you to create a safety plan which allows you to include contacts, reasons to live and coping strategies

Insight Timer: Free meditation app for sleep, anxiety and stress with more than 100L guided meditations led by the best teachers from Canada and the world

I am Sober:  Tracks how long you have been free from a behavior: Drinking, alcohol or self harm etc.

Molehill Mountain:  developed specifically for autistic people to help manage and understand anxiety through different skills. 

Mindshift CBT App:  CBT-based tolls, community forum, guided meditations (uses scientifically proven strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety.)

PTSD Coach: Helpful for symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Screen and tracking tools, self help strategies for stress, anger and trauma, Journal, coping cards tool, art tool

What’s Up App: Uses CBT along with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to help redirect negative thoughts and feelings, habit tracking tool, diary

White Flag:  a mental health app with 24/7 free, anonymous customized peer support.  Connect with someone hat understands Now.  

 
Communication Apps:

Emergency Chat:   This app allows you to pre-programme text to show in a meltdown.  It has a texting function for communicating.   “I gave you my phone because I cant use or process speech right now, but I am still capable of text communication” 

Grid Player:  This app has lots of different icons separated into categories which can be spoken aloud. 

Speechify:  If you struggle with reading, this app allows you to have information read aloud both online and paper documents. (Paid App)

Texting/Notepad: If you are unable to communicate or if you are non verbal definitely make use of your phone or devices text messaging and notepad to communicate with other’s and encourage them to communicate with you in the same way if that is what works best for you over verbal communication.  

Easy Voice Recorder: you can use this app to record your thoughts and mental notes if you like to speak out loud – OR you can prerecord responses or orders if you prefer to play your own voice recordings when you are unable to communicate  verbally.   

Speech Assistant: Speech Assistant AAC is a text-to-speech app.  You can create categories and phrases, which are placed on buttons. With these buttons you can create messages that can be shown or spoken (text-to-speech). It is also possible to type any text using the keyboard.

Vocable: A free to use app!  Through head tracking or touch, Vocable gives a voice to all. Users have the ability to create a customized library of words, phrases and categories for every day use, or use the power of AI to assist with active conversation.

Voiceitt2: offers groundbreaking voice recognition technology based on AI, that allows people with speech disabilities to communicate using their own voice, which it translates into standard speech so that it can be understood by others. No need to tap symbols or write text to communicate. Just speak!

 

Social apps: 

Fabriq:  This app is a relationship reminder and tracker app which sends you reminders to reach out to others. 

Hiki: A social app community and dating app which creates a safe space for autistic people to find friendship and love with other autistic people. 

Threads:  This app is designed for groups dedicated to social support for checking in between sessions.  Great for social groups!   

 

Travel:

Google Earth:  helpful in looking at new places in advance of visiting.  It can be helpful to prepare!

NeuroHub: is a free collaborative app to discover and rate autism accessibility information about places worldwide. Great for checking out if locations are sensory friendly approved by others in the community. 

Transit: The Transit app shows departure times for all transit lines (bus, subway, streetcar, etc.) close by for more than a hundred cities in the Canada and abroad. The Transit app shows departure times for all transit lines (bus, subway, streetcar, etc.) close by for more than a hundred cities in the US and abroad.

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