New app helps kids with autism

By Janice Biehn on April 27, 2015

Many children with autism struggle to make eye contact, making it challenging for them to connect socially and emotionally with loved ones. A new interactive camera app called Look At Me aims to change that.

Developed by Samsung along with a multidisciplinary team of clinical psychologists, cognitive psychologists and psychiatrists, the Look at Me app can help children with autism improve their ability to make eye contact and interpret facial expressions through an engaging, interactive and fun experience.

The app uses the camera function of a digital device and features a point system, themed missions, various rewards, and visual or sound effects to keep children engaged. Levels can be customized based on the children’s achievements. Each mission in the app requires interaction between parents and their children to encourage positive relationships and connections. The app is currently being tested to verify its effectiveness through research. Recommended daily use is not to exceed 15-20 minutes.

In partnership with Autism Speaks Canada, Samsung launched The Look At Me Project, a program that donated 200 GALAXY Tab S devices preloaded with the app to Canadian families living with autism.

“Connecting with our son is something our family has to work on every day, and some days can be quite challenging emotionally,” said Cheryl Ertel, one of the first families to join The Look at Me Project in Canada. The Look at Me Project is designed to create a shared community to connect families with similar experiences. Over the course of an eight-week pilot, parents and caregivers in the program can share, learn and connect through an online community forum to share their experiences.

“Autism Speaks Canada is committed to making a difference in the autism community.  Giving a tablet to an individual with autism, who wouldn’t otherwise have one, means new opportunities to connect, communicate and learn.  Advancements in technology can make a significant impact on individuals with autism and their families,” said Marc Murnaghan, Chair of the Board of Directors, Autism Speaks Canada.


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