Eashana Subramanian’s sister Meghana has autism, and after witnessing firsthand some of the challenges their parents faced while trying to organize Meghana’s daily activities, Eashana wanted to do something to help. The 12-year-old teamed up with students at the Montgomery County Adventure in Science Club in Maryland and developed the AutBuddy app, which enables children on the autism spectrum to communicate with their teachers and parents and better maintain their schedules at home and at school.
The mobile app allows parents and teachers to message in real time, and it helps students focus on assignments with audio and visual aids. Teachers and parents can create daily activity lists and track the child’s progress with the tasks, and upon completion of certain lists, kids are then rewarded with bonus points to play their favorite games and songs.
“My parents struggle with giving [Meghana] tasks because they don’t know what’s happening in school because the communication is not that great between the teachers and parents,” Eashana told ABC News. “I looked at all these problems and said this had to be solved somehow or made easier for my parents. So I thought of AutBuddy that could have features to fix the problems — not fix but help.”
“Communication between school staff and families can be vital to a student’s success,” Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, told The Mighty. “I’m very impressed by Eashana and her fellow students for working on a solution to help kids like Meghana, and look forward to trying AutBuddy when it becomes available. Autism siblings are such an inspiration. They see first-hand the struggles of their brothers, sisters and parents and are making the world a better place for all of us.”
The Montgomery County Adventure in Science Club is a nonprofit group that brings students together through science and technology projects, according to its website, and Siva Reddy served as the advisor on AutBuddy. Earlier this month the group was one of eight student teams that won the Best in Nation honor, along with $20,000 at the annual Verizon Innovative App Challenge, according mcmcmedia.com, the website for Montgomery County Media.
The team will now work with members of the MIT Media Lab to produce the app, according to mcmcmedia.com, and once development is complete, the app will be available for download in Google Play store. In June the team will present the app at the National Technology Student Association Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
h/t West Info