Have a quick search on the app store, or internet, you will find there are a lot of apps and services out there to support users with additional needs, but they are often very expensive, have limited function and content, or they are generic ‘one size fits all’ apps. Any parent, of any child with additional needs, can tell you that budgets are already restricted, and they cannot justify spending large sums of money on anything that isn’t just right.
Why should this kind of support be so expensive? Why should the person fit the app? Why can’t the app fit the person
With products and services that support users with special educational needs and disabilities many people will ask “why you?”. After all, when it comes to products and services in the world of SEND, we are working with individuals who require a high level of patience, understanding and knowledge. You wouldn’t want just anyone supporting you. So, why us?
The idea of implementing our My SEND App software, within the world of support for SEND, started with one of our product developers, whose son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Post diagnosis, she dedicated her time to learning more about sensory support, taking training courses and educating herself on a variety of additional needs and support techniques.
One thing that she quickly became frustrated with the support methods commonly used within the world of SEND and found that much of the support material provided was in the form of printed and laminated paper. Parents and carers were encouraged to build their own bespoke support material, but it felt as though there was too much restriction. The methods were often outdated and lacked engagement and were difficult to manage and to keep organised. Why couldn’t parents or carers build social stories, visual timetables and PECS all in one place? Why couldn’t it be in an app?
Upon searching, she could not find a service which offered customisation at an affordable cost. Individuals can have very specific requirements to engage with something, particularly new things. How something looks and feels, can make the difference between it being used, or being ignored. The platform needed to be easy to use, but customisable in every way.
The pilot app for her son, who was 6 at the time, included information to encourage his special interests: local weather, maps and time related topics, such as live count downs to important dates and family birthdays. It also included practical event preparation material and a section for her son to make submissions to say how he was feeling. Every written instruction, every picture, every video, and every link, made exactly to her son’s requirements, by her, with the capacity to change the information at a moment’s notice.
After a few weeks of using the app, the impact became apparent. Having the ability to reference his app when he needed reassurance, structure or support, he began to come out of his shell. He stopped worrying so much about the changes around him and focused more on what was happening within the classroom, for the first time forming solid friendships and taking significant strides with his education. His individual engagement with the app was excellent, but it wasn’t until he made a submission via the ‘How Am I Feeling’ portion of the app, to indicate he was having a problem at school, that we could gauge just how much of a difference the app could make to someone’s life. Without the app he may never have felt comfortable discussing this issue, or his feelings, with anyone and in turn would have suffered in silence. Making this submission meant that she was able to go to school and quietly resolve the issue, without making him self-conscious.
We offer a bespoke service, at a low monthly cost, with no fixed contract. Your app is yours and completely private, with the capability to share the app with only those you choose. You can add and remove features as and when required. Take the app out for a month and use it when going on holiday or use it continuously. Just like our app, we are here for you, just when you need us. For us, the My SEND App isn’t just a product or service, it is our life.
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