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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Hacking autism - what a brilliant idea

(27 Posts)
WilsonFrickett Sun 11-Sep-11 20:42:56

Look at this - what a great idea and I bet there would be a few fab suggestions from us!

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 12-Sep-11 00:49:35


I don't think so. It doesn't even say who is on the advisory board.

Not convinced of the ethics.

dolfrog Mon 12-Sep-11 01:04:01

Sounds like trying to advance Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) more specifically for those who have ASD.

WilsonFrickett Mon 12-Sep-11 09:34:20

Really Starlight? I thought it just sounded like a way of getting some good apps developed.

zzzzz Mon 12-Sep-11 12:57:29

I think it sounds quite cool....the title alone was a good hook. Not a very open site about who they are though, which is a shame as it is a brilliant idea. Designing apps is one of the things I have been pondering doing if ds settles at school this term. I have tons of ideas, but they need more work before sharing and I need to make at least a basic wage.

Having said that nothing struck me as unethical.

WilsonFrickett Mon 12-Sep-11 14:30:12

Oh, good luck zzzzz! I think apps are such great things because they're cheap and simple to use, and of course DS is all over the touch screen grin

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 12-Sep-11 16:27:08

I dunno. I wouldn't be comfortable sharing MY ideas with a company that implies they have experts in my ds's disability, but doesn't say who these people are, nor their reasons for offering them free

The only thing I might share with them is that they consider the outcome or learning objective of the app. A good idea is nothing without those carefully incorporated.

Wilson, have you been on MN long?

madwomanintheattic Mon 12-Sep-11 16:34:48

looking at use of aac for autism is interesting... i wonder why they are only developing an app for autism though. i'm not up on recent developments in aac as dd2 is now verbal, despite being told she wouldn't be, but i would have thought that restricting it to one disability wouldn't make good business sense, let alone anything else...

why 'hacking'? (dim emoticon)

bit odd - surely as a sensible and legit org they would have support and board involvement from major disability charities etc (as a supposed free source)

not unethical i don't think. just a bit of an odd way to go about developing technology for use in the disability sector - unless they are going to utilise pre-exisiting (and patented) tech without permission... in which case, um, yeah, i can see why hacking would be the term used. and the ethics doubted...

madwomanintheattic Mon 12-Sep-11 16:36:13

oh, yy, wilson's been about a bit. grin she doesn't work for them or anything (well, not that i know of lol, but i've seen her around in sn for a while now grin)

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 12-Sep-11 16:37:56

Ok, sorry Wilson.

WilsonFrickett Mon 12-Sep-11 17:15:01

Yes, I have been around for a while, though namechanged fairly recently.

And I don't work for hp smile

silverfrog Mon 12-Sep-11 17:21:59

I assume they are focussing on autism due to interest in that area. like when I fiddle about with apps, I look at ways to tackle known (to me/for my family) autism issues.

app development has evolved in this way - mst of the apps on itunes are user-developed, and a high proportion are not from "developers" as such, but parents/users/friends who have seen a need for an app (or a gap in the market).

I have nosed around the hackingautism site before - and have a few of their apps (prior to looking at the site) downloaded. and a couple of the games software they suggest too, like the itsabitsa drawing game on my Mac. dd2 loves it.

WilsonFrickett Mon 12-Sep-11 17:24:50

If you look in the tabs 'our partners' and 'our team' (in 'our mission') it tells you who is involved, lead charity is Autism Speaks which seems to be a fairly large US charity. Their team includes a number of big hitters from the technology world who seem to have personal interest/experience of autism. But as I say, I don't work for them - I just thought it was an interesting way to influence the development of some apps that might actually help.

graciousenid Mon 12-Sep-11 17:48:42

what silverfrog said ... I've finally got dh to start working on my huuuge list of apps that I want for ds, when they're done & tested they'll be described as developed with autism in mind & won't be approved or developed in consultation with any expert except me wink ... whether anyone else thinks they'd be of benefit to their child is down to them.

& I don't think it is odd to use the term hacking, nor that there aren't major disability charities involved (god save us from the NAS) .. that's just how app development works. People who have an interest in something & some time to fiddle around. When it stops being like that it starts being expensive & loses it creativity. I don't want everything regulated & approved by some 'expert'.

graciousenid Mon 12-Sep-11 17:54:31

ignore me - I'm in a vile mood today I really should step away from the internet.

I've seriously had it up to my neck with autism advisors though (& the sodding NAS) ... I just appreciate grass roots bottom up stuff.

willowthecat Mon 12-Sep-11 18:19:06

I've sent them my idea - no idea if it will make to app stage or not. ds1 loves spelling out words but have not found an app that has more than one word to spell so was wondering if they could do a sentences one for me. Here's hoping !!

WilsonFrickett Mon 12-Sep-11 18:25:36

Well, to be fair presumably hp aren't doing it for nothing? But I was happy to send them my idea as I have no clue how to develop an app. So if someone else doesn't pick it up, it's wasted IMO.

gracious and zzzzz let me know if you need testers grin

silverfrog Mon 12-Sep-11 18:36:49

willow the cat: when you say "spell out words" - do you mean the match up letters to a word to label a picture?

I have used the Little SPeller Sight Words app with dd1 - it is fully customisable, and so I just made up new cards with sentences on for ehr (eg "I am walking" or "I am riding" etc). you can upload a photo, and then the app has scrabble tiles along the bottom to match up (you can set it so that the words are spelled out correctly left to right, rather than random letters plonked in anywhere), or you can remove the visual hint. you can record the sentence/word you want, and turn on/off the auditory clue.

it has been a very useful app for us smile

willowthecat Mon 12-Sep-11 18:58:38

That sounds fantastic - and just what we need. Off to download it now ! ds loves the tile spelling apps and does them obsessively but i think he would enjoy and benefit from longer phrases and they could even help him to learn to use longer sentences !!

silverfrog Mon 12-Sep-11 19:14:56

Hope it is useful smile

Dd1 loves spelling apps too. We have loads of them. There is a whole range of little speller apps - 3 letter words, 4 letter words, pattern recognition etc. And they are all customizable, which is fab imo. We have re recorded the phonics on dd1s iPad, so that ad she matches up stuff it spells it out phonetically rather than using letter names. But it doesn't do blends, unfortunately - have suggested it to the developers grin

Can your ds recognise sight words, do you think? My other app of the moment is the open university Our Story app. Again, you upload what you want picture wise, and then add the text and record the audio. Have made up quite a few picture books for dd1 to read read in this way, and she loves them. Because it is made by you, you can pitch it at the right level.

willowthecat Mon 12-Sep-11 20:46:28

I'm not really sure where we are in terms of actually learning to read. He can sight recognise simple words like dog or cat but the letter app/spelling obsession is relatively new (about 3 months old) and so we are researching ways to tie it into the bigger picture of learning to read. Obviously there is a lot more involved than just matching letters but he is loving it so much that it seems as if a window has opened that was not there before. I am thinking that longer sentences particularly if they are words he already knows and uses may be a starting point so this customisation feature sounds as if it will be a way to start things at a level he can cope with.

dolfrog Mon 12-Sep-11 21:21:33

From the AAC research paper collection these research papers may be of specific interest.

willowthecat Tue 13-Sep-11 10:57:37

Wow - that Little Speller app is AMAZING !! Just what I have been looking for - can't believe something so fantastic is so cheap.

silverfrog Tue 13-Sep-11 11:10:45

glad it is useful smile

I could not believe it when I found it either - it has been amazing for dd1. I used it (in conjunction with her last school) for name recognition, and sight words (you know, the list you get in reception/year one of key words). dd1 loved matching up the tiles, and would do it for ages, and then (along with work at school too - they were great with using her ipad, and also other reading preparation work) we used the Our Story app.

I loaded up some pictures form school, and typed in sentences based on names, key words (ie activities), and the sight word list, so eg sentences like:

I am riding.
I like trampolining
Here I am riding a horse

etc - all accompanied by relevant photo.

I loaded it all up, and sent it to school with dd1 on the Wednesday. at the weekned, I thought I'd have a go at reading through it with her, to see how she liked it. she read it straight through, with only 3 words she got stuck on (15 pictures with associated sentences. the words she got stuck on were new words). when I told them at school they were shock as they hadn't had time to go through it with ehr, and so when I tried it, it was the first time she had seen it! none of us were anticipating that she would be at this level, haivng fiddled around with spelling/writing apps for a while (coupled with a lot of work on basic phonics too).

dd1's ipad has really let her come on in leaps and bounds for some activities - it is so much more than 'just' a gadget for her.

willowthecat Tue 13-Sep-11 11:14:21

I am just in the process of taking the relevant photos (need Ipad 2 now with camera to save emailing them all to myself). I think I will be doing similar - short sentences made up from words he knows and uses, it won't really be for comm as such as he verbalises at basic level but I am hoping it will be a way to bring in longer sentence comprehension. I might try to find out who wrote the app so I can maybe email them to thank them as this is really life changing stuff !

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