An app-solute gift for autistic children?
04/02/2012 Leave a comment
By providing a tool where communication skills can be developed and understanding of feelings and helping others is key to success, researchers from the University of Edinburgh may have broken down a major barrier in life for those who have a stronger degree of autism.
As reported by the BBC, FindMe, an application for the iPad which can be found through Apple’s App Store, has been created to provide a solution for those who would like to discover how children cope with understanding thought processes.
Using the autistic spectrum as an example of a disability where this could be most effective, such an opportunity could be key in helping to communicate with those who may have lost forms of communicating that can often be taken for granted.
Acting as one of these valuable skills, speech is vital in daily life.
Imagine a world where this form of sharing feelings and thoughts was not possible.
Then think of how Sam Rospigliosi must have felt. Not being able to talk to Veronica, her six-year-old daughter who is autistic.
Congratulate those clever people in Edinburgh that have began to break this tough emotional hold between a mother and her daughter.
Offering an opportunity to play a game which relies on sharing and understanding how people must share their thoughts with each other, FindMe can make the process of development a pleasure, rather than a chore.
Working through a series of tasks, each success brings a reward to ensure that hard work can bring happiness and a little treat.
For example, answering five questions correctly is rewarded by five tokens which can be used to access FindMe’s musicbox.
This encourages the player to work for every treat and feel that they must be earned, no matter how tough the activities become as the higher levels of the game are reached.
In the case of the Rospigliosi’s, their lives have been completely changed.
Aiding assistance in engaging her mind, Sam speaks of FindMe in high praise as a valuable tool:
“She has gone from being a little girl who had no way of showing us how much she knew, to a little girl who now has a portable device she can laugh, play and engage with.
“Who knows, she might even use it as her voice in the years ahead if she never learns how to speak again.”
Already achieving reported success, the collaborative project between the University of Edinburgh and the Nuffield Foundation, the latter being responsible for funding during the research process of FindMe, is holding any help for youngsters with autism as the main aim of the iPad app.
Outlining their mission statement, the university and the foundation are confident in breaking down issues as Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson, a new career development fellow for Nuffield explains:
“Children with autism are often adept with computers. Thanks to the iPad’s touchscreen we can now create games for very young children with autism, when it may benefit them most. We hope our app will be helpful to both children with autism and their families.”
Coupled with this ability to reach children on a platform that may bring a sense of comfort, concentration is the second aim of the game as developers are making focus a vital feature in playing well:
“As the game progresses, children must contend with more distractions on screen.
“The game is designed to encourage players to focus on other people and their needs, which people with autism find difficult. Players are rewarded with animations specifically designed to appeal to children with autism.”
- If you have an iPad and would like to download FindMe, you can do so here.