Children with autism struggle with the subtleties of communication we rely on for everyday life. For example, recognising different faces and the emotions they are showing. The ‘Look At Me’ app attempts to tackle these problems head-on. However, the beauty of the app is that to the child using it, it comes across as a fun game! The app highlights how communication difficulties as a consequence of autism not only affects the child but also their parents and close family. A feeling of disconnect from their child must be one of the worst things a parent can feel.

Look At Me aims to strengthen the parent-child connection through improving the communication skills of the child. The child should then be in a better position to communicate outside their family, with classmates and teachers.

All of the ‘lessons’ are in the form of a games, or missions as they are referred to. This helps the child relax and enjoy the experience. One of the games involves an image of a face being placed over the eye of a larger image of a face. The player must pick whose face is contained within the eye out of a series of options! Not only does this improve facial recognition it also teaches the child to look at a person’s eye. We as human beings are very expressive through our eyes and autistic children often miss out on these signs. A second game requires the player to identify happy and sad faces from a line-up. This is designed to help them recognise and identify the emotions a real person is showing when talking to them.

Let’s hope this app can make a real difference to the lives of children with autism and their families, and pave the way for more apps of its kind.