Welcome to MiLA Solutions.
This initiative involves creating software (mostly mobile applications) to assist and educate children with disabilities. We recognize that there is lack of applications that cater for children with autism for minority languages. This is reasonable from a business perspective since there are more ‘clients’ to buy or use your application. A child with autism for example, should not have to (and most often is not able to) receive therapy in a second language. We aim to create applications that target minority languages in order to facilitate parents and therapists with the tools in order to help their children, especially in lands where there are limited resources for therapy sessions. We aim to give children with autism the chance to experience learning about traditional culture and stories which other children are exposed to by books or storytelling by their parents. Currently, children with autism are limited in the way they can understand information, which creates a barrier to the carer to be able to pass on this heritage and culture. Using appropriate applications for mobile devices, with the correct interaction and content, we hope to be able to create stories appropriate for children with autism.
Currently, autistic children have limited access to the traditional children story books that are used to educate their peers. Traditionally, these stories are either read by the guardian or by the child if he or she is at the appropriate age. ASD children’s lack of attention and cognitive development prevents them from listening to the guardian or focus on the story being dictated, as well as from reading the story by themselves. As such, autistic children are never given the opportunity to experience these stories the way other children do. Furthermore, interviews with therapists has uncovered a weakness in information transfer; namely, the lack of Language-Specific Based Digital applications for use in therapy. Using mobile technology such as phones and tablets, we aim to make use of the interactive capabilities in order to provide versions of this material which are attractive and accessible to ASD children. A bespoke mobile application which loads different interactive audio-visual story books is created. Using this tool, we aim to increase engagement and understanding of the children by employing video, sound, and interaction in the stories, taking into consideration traditional behavioural techniques. The child will be able to interact with methods such as voice input, shaking the device and pressing buttons, based on their developmental level. The therapist or parent will be able to select the interaction methodologies based on the child’s cognitive development. This will achieve three purposes.
- To promote the children’s cognitive development.
- To give access to children with disabilities to the resources in a comprehensible way.
- To encourage the communication of the children with their peers, family and therapist.
The development of the applications will follow a user-centred design approach. Support has already been given by the therapists at the Cyprus Autistic Association and the IMK Institute of Music Therapy who will provide the required space and testing with users as well as specialist consulting. The proposed application will be primarily targeting the ASD population. The principles used to build the applications however, are transferable to further disabilities which will be also explored during the testing and development phase.