In the spring of 2018, I came across a contest hosted by NYIT and SPARK for Autism to create an app to improve the lives of people with Autism. I got my right-hand man, Sam, and we went to work designing and prototyping an app.
Our application was a Facebook clone with monitoring built-in at the local level. Children sign up for an account and designate a guardian to protect their account. After working with children with Autism and other learning disabilities for over 5 years, I know that sometimes it’s hard for them to pick up on social cues, leading to content ending up on the internet that may be inappropriate or too personal. For this reason, guardians are in control of their child’s content and can set policies that allow them to green-light content before it’s posted. In addition, having this level of un-intrusive access to their child’s account allows children to preserve their freedom and build important social skills while remaining a safe environment parents can trust. Furthermore, parents can bridge the gap and reach out to other parents to set up playdates and create real connections with their child’s virtual friends.