It's always incredible to witness even the youngest children mastering sophisticated web applications at lightning speed. Not long ago, I was wowed to learn that many children with autism have proven to be particularly adept at creating 3D models using Google SketchUp. Last week on the Official Google SketchUp Blog, we announced the creation of Project Spectrum, a program dedicated to connecting the autistic community with free software and learning materials.

Project Spectrum was dreamed up by the Google SketchUp team in partnership with the Boulder, Colorado chapter of the Autism Society of America, the Boulder Valley School District, and the Center for Lifelong Learning and Design at University of Colorado. By connecting children with SketchUp tools and the know-how to use them, Project Spectrum makes it possible for kids with special abilities to create 3D models of anything from actual existing buildings to imagined dream homes. They can even show off their work in the 3D Warehouse, an online repository of 3D models in which users can publish the models they've created, as well as search and download models built by others. And what's even cooler, the best models in the 3D Warehouse are added to the 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth, giving every child the opportunity to share their hard work with the whole world!

The creators of Project Spectrum have put together a very cool video to showcase ways in which children with autism can take advantage of SketchUp. Check it out:

It's especially inspiring to learn about Project Spectrum's launch right in the middle of Geography Awareness Week. We hope people continue using our products in such fun, educational ways. If you are an educator who would like to use Google SketchUp in the classroom, please visit our SketchUp for Education page.