by Eric Pudalov, Community Events Coordinator
DISCLAIMER: Georgia Community Support and Solutions is not affiliated with or funded by Squag.com, or Squag.org Inc.; the opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Georgia Community Support and Solutions, Inc.
If the name sounds “different,” that’s because it is…but think of the word “different” here as meaning “extraordinary.”
Squag™, as defined on their official site, is “a new application designed specifically for teens and tweens on the autism spectrum.” Its creators’ goal is to smooth the progress of natural relationships through the actions of the users (with support from their parents or guardians).
The application, according to the site, was built on three guiding principles: sensory, security, and community.
Sensory: The “sensory” element comes into play by filtering out external noise, and simulating a comforting, sun-filled room with images that are simple and calming. Squag™ also screens out pop-ups and other kinds of ads; in their place, the creators have put what they call “Squagpads™” that help users focus on building a stable sense of self and forming friendships with others.
Security: Because security is often a concern to parents whose children surf the Web, Squag™ states that safety is their first priority.
To clarify, parents are in charge of site membership, and are required to provide a credit card in order to download the application. Parents also create usernames and passwords for their accounts, and only after registration is complete can their child access the site. Also, a reporting section on the parent site keeps a log of the child’s online activity, for the express purpose of ensuring their safety.
Community: Although raising a child in the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community is a challenge, it’s called “community” for a reason: there are many others to reach out to. Squag™ believes that kids can benefit from the same kind of system, which is why they’ve created “Squag&trade,” a place where autistic children can connect with one another after a stressful school day.
Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of children with autism created Squag™. To help show their love and support for these wonderful individuals, they’ve invented an entertaining, secure place that gives kids the chance for self-reflection, expression, and connection with peers (without someone speaking on their behalf).
At the same time, however, they are very clear that Squag™ is not therapy; it’s a form of “recreation and communication,” and a healthy alternative to video games and the overstimulation of the Web. Its intent is to build confidence, social relationships, creativity, and a sense of self that will benefit them in the present, as well as later in life.
Your Opinion, Please?
Although I, personally, do not have autism, and haven’t signed up for Squag™, I would still recommend that parents and family members of children on the autism spectrum give it a try.
I have met many adults with autism who didn’t have the opportunity to use such technology growing up, and while I can’t speak for everyone, there’s a chance that it may have helped them. It seems like a great, positive tool that has the potential to do wonders for children coping with ASD.
Of note: there is a $7.99/month charge to use the service (after a free 1-month trial period), but that seems small in comparison to its possible advantages.
- What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder? (brighthub.com)
- At noon today: NY Board of Regents may take away important promises to students with autism (wilderside.wordpress.com)
- For Teens with Autism, Handwriting Problems May Persist (nlm.nih.gov)
- Adult Autism Reality: Where Do Severely Autistic Adults Live After Their Parents Die? (autisminnb.blogspot.com)
- New study affirms handwriting problems affect children with autism into the teenage years (physorg.com)