This is a wee sample of the Grace App for iPhone as developed by Grace, a 10 year old girl with autism and ADD who has attended Saplings Rathfarnham since June 2008.
Grace's mummy was given an iPhone by the lovely people at O2 the same month she started. And together with her Mummy they began to create a prototype for putting all her picture exchange pictures, that were in her
communication book - onto the phone.
A communication book looks like this:
And it involves a lot of taking and saving pictures, printing, laminating and velcro. Lots of velcro. Most Parents and Carers, Tutors and Teachers who work with kids who are on Picture Exchange for more than 3 months LOATHE VELCRO!
So Gracie's Mummy came up with a proto-type, with Gracie's help and then, with incredible good fortune; found an iPhone Wizard by the name of Steve Troughton-Smith - who built the Grace App for iPhone.
Steve is one of the Irish Times "People to Watch" for 2010 as at the age of 21 he is one of the worlds most successful iPhone Games App developers. He is also a really good listener and with the aid of some diagrams and a lot of talking about the culture of picture exchange - he created EXACTLY what we were looking for.
At the end of 2009, O2 gave Saplings Rathfarnham another 3 phones so that we could test the App with other children. It worked, and some of those children liked it so much they (and their Parents) bought their own phones to use all the time. The School Phones will now be passed to another group of children in the school.
This would not have been possible without the support and faith of Sinead Smith, Senior Corporate Responsibility Officer and her Diversity Colleagues and for this Saplings and Gracie are very grateful. (Gracie got her own phone too!)
We are now coming to the end of that trial and are getting ready to launch the App on iTunes, across the world. So stay tuned.
If you want to support Saplings - and all the good work that the 5 schools do - please go here to our My Charity Link page. Your support is valuable and has a positive impact on what we do, every hour, every day and every week.