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Autism & PDD Associations App
Ages: 3-7   Grades: PreK-2

This Buddy Bear app is based on the perennially popular Buddy Bear software and storybooks that have a strong following among speech-language pathologists and educators. 


  • Associate common objects
  • Engage in spontaneous communication
  • Develop language comprehension and literacy
  • Develop joint attention
Autism & PDD Associations for iPad
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Autism & PDD Associations LITE for iPad
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Autism & PDD Associations for Android
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Autism & PDD Associations LITE for Android
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Autism & PDD Associations for Android
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Autism & PDD Associations LITE for Android
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The app uses these research-based techniques to improve communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities:  

  • simple, predictable language
  • uncluttered illustrations
  • open-ended responses
  • cheerful, calming narration
  • engaging animation and sound effects
  • flexible story-based learning 

There are five stories in the program.  The stories match the content of the Autism & PDD Associations Interactive Software and 5-Book Set.  Each themed-story teaches nine associations:      

  • Buddy Bear Helps Mama—e.g., mop & bucket, pillow & bed, and more
  • Buddy Bear Has Fun—e.g., baseball & bat, computer & mouse, and more
  • Buddy Bear Likes Animals—e.g., bird & nest, dog & bone, and more
  • Buddy Bear Gets Ready for School—e.g., toothpaste & toothbrush, socks & shoes, and more
  • Buddy Bear Goes on a Picnic—e.g., salt & pepper, bread & butter, and more

The free Autism & PDD Associations LITE version lets your student interact with one screen from each story.  The full version has 45 interactive screens packed with teaching opportunities so youngsters can:

  • associate common objects
  • build language and literacy
  • increase spontaneous communication exchanges
  • develop joint attention and social reciprocity

Once you start the app, tap on one of the five stories.  Tap on the back, forward, and repeat arrows for easy screen navigation.  Children choose the correct answer with a one-touch response.  Correct responses are reinforced with animation, sound effects, and a friendly "Good job!"   A randomization feature can be turned on/off.   


Copyright © 2004

  • Children need to understand semantic connections among words (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Therapy aimed at fostering the development of age-appropriate communication skills and age/ability-appropriate language comprehension and language use will improve the child's level of functioning (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Speech-language pathologists should enhance access to literacy and academic instruction for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASHA, 2006).
  • Many children with autism spectrum disorders learn more readily through the visual modality (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) has a positive effect on the learning process of young children who learn better with pictures and sounds (Vernadakis, Avgerinos, Tsitskari, & Zachopoulou, 2005).

Autism & PDD Associations App incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2006). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders across the life span [Position Statement]. Retrieved September 17, 2007, from

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech & language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.

Vernadakis, N., Avgerinos, A., Tsitskari, E., & Zachopoulou, E. (2005, October). The use of computer assisted instruction in preschool education: Making teaching meaningful. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33(2), 99-104.


Beth W. Respess


Beth W. Respess is a retired school-based speech-language pathologist.  After four years as a classroom teacher, she graduated with a master's degree in speech communication from Auburn University.  She worked with students of all ages with various speech disorders, but she especially enjoyed the challenge of working with younger children who had PDD and autism. 


This app is based on the Autism & PDD Associations Interactive SoftwareAutism & PDD Associations App allows students with limited language skills to work independently on making associations.  The animation and sound effects hold their interest while the simple, stimulus-response structure encourages self-monitoring.  The spoken word along with the text helps develop reading skills.  Choosing the correct response among those given reinforces the skill of responding to multiple-choice questions.  You can introduce the app individually or in small groups.  Autism & PDD Associations App is appropriate for students who are able to use the computer, up to about age seven, depending on the interest level and ability of the child.

Minimum System Requirements

Apple iTunes Store

  • iPad only
  • English only
  • not compatible with iPod or iPhone

Android/Google Play

  • minimum 7" screen required
  • English only