Zac Browser for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

ZAC is a web browser specifically designed for children with autism, and autism spectrum disorders such as Asperger syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, (PDD), and PDD-NOS.

autism spectrum disorder zac browser

ZAC is for "for their enjoyment, enrichment, and freedom. Children touch it, use it, play it, interact with it, and experience independence through ZAC….. ZAC is the zone that will permit your child to interact directly with games (a LOT of games) and activities (focused on MANY interests) that cater specifically to kids who display the characteristics of autism spectrum disorders, like impairments in social interaction, impairments in communication, restricted interests and repetitive behavior. ZAC has been an effective tool for kids with low, medium and high functioning autism."

The simple graphic, interactive interface provides four main content areas: Television, Games, Music, and Stories. The browser’s emphasis is on linking to educational and fun games, activities and videos. Ease of use is further enhanced by cutting out extraneous elements such as right clicking; helping to reduce sensory overload and possible frustration.

Adult content is blocked to ensure safe browsing. The browser links to specific pages on sites such as Sesame Street, Disney and PBS Kids and it is not possible to follow any links (including the websites internal links) from these pages. I can see the necessity of this although my son found it a little frustrating not being able to access other games and activities on the site he was on, at least when he first started using the browser. From my perspective I do not mind this. I find it does keep him on task as he would normally be inclined to flit from link to link without concentrating on anything for very long.

ZAC was developed by John LeSieur based on the needs of his autistic grandson, Zackary, and is still in beta stage. (The name is also an acronym for Zone for Autistic Children). John LeSieur was also involved in the development of d the Kid CD browsers aimed at children and teenagers.

ZAC Browser’s forum provides a way for parents and caregivers to communicate and share stories, challenges and successes.

ZAC may not suit all children in the Autism Spectrum Disorder range, because of their varying abilities, and needs, but it is the only free resource of its kind and I give it a thumbs up. Its use is not restricted to those children with special needs but is a program suited to all young children.

I have installed ZAC on my PC too – well, I had to research the program myself before writing a review.- so please excuse me now while I carry on researching. I am up to level 3 on Higglytown Higgly Ball :-)

Update:

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I am Sue Bride, a Professional Blogger, Web Developer and Internet Marketer from the Mornington Peninsula, Australia. Here I talk about tools and resources for Blogging, Social Media, Networking, Wordpress, SEO, Images and Marketing. I create Wordpress sites for charity and small business.

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26 Comments

  1. Posted June 15, 2008 at | Permalink

    WOW! Sue that looks fantastic. I am so grateful that you surf so much and can bring these things to us. Thank you.
    Will look for your review and will go and check ZAC now.

  2. Posted June 15, 2008 at | Permalink

    This is useful information. Thanks for sharing. Maybe useful for my nephew who is autistic and now in his teens.

    Shantanus last blog post..Bringing in the Monsoon at Goa

  3. Posted June 17, 2008 at | Permalink

    hey thanks, I have already passed this along to a few people who are going through this with their children.

  4. Posted June 17, 2008 at | Permalink

    How nice and great to see the safe surf feature too. Thanks for sharing this Sue – I also know a family who have a child who is autistic and will of course pass this on.

    RennyBAs last blog post..Kirkenes, Norway’s gateway to Northern Russia and the Barents region

  5. Posted June 17, 2008 at | Permalink

    Wow, this is great!
    Thanks for finding these kind of things, I’ll be letting Feral Beast loose on ZAC as soon as I download it :D
    He’s just looked over my shoulder and said it looks like fun! ;)

    Jaynes last blog post..Name That….

  6. Posted June 17, 2008 at | Permalink

    :mrgreen: Thank you for that.

    Jayne sent me this. Do you mind if I link to this so others can be informed ??

    Widdle Shamrocks last blog post..Screw Up Tuesday

    • Posted June 19, 2008 at | Permalink

      I am more than happy for you to link to it. My google/technorati rankings will thank you too. Seriously though it would be great if as many people as possible found out about it. A safe site for all young kids as well as being good for ASD

  7. Posted June 17, 2008 at | Permalink

    I can recommend the ZAC browser as Feral Beast played on it solidly for 4 hours with enough laughter to raise the roof :grin:

    Jaynes last blog post..Name That….

    • Posted June 19, 2008 at | Permalink

      Wonderful – more blogging time for you too. I was not online when my Fragile X son was little but there was nothing like this available anyway. All he would use on the PC was a program called Kids Pics and that particular obsession lasted about 4 years :-)

  8. Posted June 18, 2008 at | Permalink

    Who owns or runs that browser?

  9. Posted June 19, 2008 at | Permalink

    Kudos to you for writing this post, anything that helps people with this dreadful condition is worthy

    Djs last blog post..How To Treat Dog Ear Infections

  10. Posted June 19, 2008 at | Permalink

    You can read the story here http://www.zacbrowser.com/story.html It is John LeSieur President and CEO of People CD, Inc is behind Zac.

  11. Posted June 20, 2008 at | Permalink

    ZAC is great. It allows children with disabilities to interact with the browser which in any other case they may not have been able to. They can enjoy themselves and at the same time ZAC takes a lot of stress and concern from parents and caretakers.

    • Posted June 20, 2008 at | Permalink

      Well said Howard. When my own son was young he was very limited in what he could do on the computer because of his disability and because of what applications were available at the time.

  12. Posted July 5, 2008 at | Permalink

    I’ve just noticed this post and felt my need to put in my two cents.

    There has been a lot of debate as to whether ZAC Browser can really be called a browser, but due to the fantastic achievement of being able to control viewing through a custom front-end to IE I think it deserves all the praise it can get. After using it for a couple of hours and testing it for robustness I could safely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun alternative to browsing a computer for their kids.

    Mikes last blog post..Google learns to crawl Flash

  13. Posted August 3, 2008 at | Permalink

    “ZAC may not suit all children in the Autism Spectrum Disorder range, because of their varying abilities, and needs, but it is the only free resource of its kind and I give it a thumbs up.” Yes, I do agree and I think it’s fantastic that research is been done to help our children.

  14. Posted August 19, 2008 at | Permalink

    There has been a lot of debate as to whether ZAC Browser can really be called a browser, but due to the fantastic achievement of being able to control viewing through a custom front-end to internet explorer I think it deserves all the praise it can get. After using it for a couple of hours and testing it for robustness I could safely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun alternative to browsing a computer for their kids.

    • Posted September 20, 2008 at | Permalink

      Thanks for checking it out and letting us know. Maybe not a browser as such but the title does convey the sort of thing it does.

  15. Posted September 15, 2008 at | Permalink

    Wow! That’s incredible information. I will definitely be passing this on throughout the agency I work for.

    vans last blog post..Accommodating Behavior Characteristics of Autism

  16. Posted February 18, 2009 at | Permalink

    This is great news for so many parents and children. Everything which makes these special kids happy is worth essaying.

  17. Posted June 11, 2009 at | Permalink

    Excellent Explaination

    roberts last blog post..Find the geographical location of a host by ip address

  18. Posted September 3, 2009 at | Permalink

    its better then other browsers spaciously for children color full and Adult content is blocked to ensure safe browsing it is good in a child computer.
    Tanks for sharing it also for the article.

  19. Posted December 9, 2009 at | Permalink

    Thanks for finding these kind of things, I’ll be letting Feral Beast loose on ZAC as soon as I download it

  20. Posted December 17, 2009 at | Permalink

    great site great info will return

  21. Posted February 10, 2010 at | Permalink

    Great post,

    I have a few problems when my son (5yr old ASD) wants to play games. His interest is distracted by my firefox function.

    ZAC looks like an option.
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Research Autism Website Review =-.

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