BridgingApps is a volunteer community of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers that shares information on how we are using the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices with people with disabilities. We have fo und these mobile devices to provide accessibility for people who may have been previously disengaged from the world because of challenging language, motor, or other developmental delays. Given the rising number of apps on the market and the diverse skills of children and adults with disabilities, parents have found each other to be one of the best resources for choosing apps to enhance everyday life for children of all ages. While our group is primarily parent-driven, our efforts are naturally collaborative with those that help people with disabilities develop particular skills - therapists and educators.
We created an online community to discuss technology in respectful, creative ways focusing on people with disabilities. Components of this forum include app lists, practical how-to's, success stories, community feedback, and a review system that identifies skills embedded in particular apps.
We have found that most age ratings assigned to apps have little relevance for people with a wide range of skills and who may not be developmentally on par with their peers. In collaboration with speech language pathologists and occupational therapists, we have created an app review system that focuses on skills - not age, diagnosis or developmental level. It is our hope that this system will assist users choose apps that will help improve skills and enhance lives. We invite users to treat our site as a helpful tool to explore the numerous apps on the market as well as share success stories.
BridgingApps was created by parents and therapists who began using the iPad with chilren with disabilities. Sami Rahman sought to help his two-year-old son with Cerebral Palsy communicate. Cristen Reat was looking for a computer mouse that her six-year-old son with Down Syndrome could control. After a few months of using the iPad with their children, both parents observed amazing gains in speech, fine motor skills and realized the power of this device as a motivation for learning. They began to meet regularly to compare notes on favorite apps. The first meeting evolved into a website to share information with others. In addition to the website, our group meets monthly in Houston and attracts parents, therapists and teachers of children of all ages and abilities.
Visit www.BridgingApps.org to get started! Click here to register with the site.
For more information about Assistive Technology Evaluations, please click here.
Cristen Reat and her son Vincent Sami Rahman and his son Noah