Software Brings Autism Therapy Into Homes

Computer network is alternative to expensive, hard-to-get therapists
By Laila Weir,  Newser User
Posted May 1, 2008 8:00 PM CDT
Ryan Massey, 11, plays with action figures, Monday, Oct. 8, 2007. Ryan is the youngest of three brothers in his family, all of whom have Asperger's syndrome, a milder variant of autistic disorder.    (AP Photo/John Amis)
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(Newser) – A Seattle software company is offering new hope to parents of autistic children who struggle to get, and afford, behavioral therapy, which can cost upward of $30,000 a year and isn't usually covered by insurance. Jigsaw Learning has created a game-like computer network, called TeachTown, that provides some aspects of the therapy, the Post-Intelligencer reports.

The founders say the network can’t replace real therapists, but it can allow children to work on their own, reducing the hours needed with expensive, often-overbooked professionals. About 1,000 school districts, treatment centers and parents are currently using TeachTown software, which costs $40 for a month's subscription.