HOUSTON (April 2, 2012) – Easter Seals Greater Houston is proud to announce that it has changed the name of its SNApps4Kids Project to BridgingApps(TM) to reflect the tremendous growth and expansion of its services. BridgingApps(TM) is a project of Easter Seals Houston comprised of a community of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers who share information about how they are using touch based technology like iPads and Androids to help people with disabilities.
In 2010, co-founders, Cristen Reat and Sami Rahman, launched an app review system focused on skills -- not age, diagnosis or development level – to help people with disabilities develop particular skills. As the effort grew, “We felt that the brand name was not all encompassing - SNApps4Kids was created based on the idea of community. Although the group is primarily parent-driven, our efforts are naturally collaborative with the people who help people with disabilities develop particular skills – therapists, doctors, teachers, software developers, etc. With kids being part of the brand name we felt that our reach was limited, and didn’t properly voice our mission to assist users to choose apps that will help improve skills and enhance the lives of people of all ages with disabilities,” said Reat.
To kick off the new name, Easter Seals Houston and BridgingApps(TM) would like to introduce Insignio. With over 500,000 apps available and considering the diverse skills of children and adults with disabilities, finding the right technology can be overwhelming. Searching for apps by skill, such as “expressive language” or “finger isolation” in iTunes or Android Market does not yield results that are helpful. Frustrated with this problem, Rahman designed a solution that would allow users to target their search by specific attributes and skill.
With the support and assistance of Joel Trammell, the CEO of CacheIQ, the remarkable custom-built tool Insignio was developed to meet this need. “Working in the technology field and as the parent of a child with a disability, I have seen first-hand the power of technology to improve lives,” says Trammell. Insignio offers a powerful mechanism for searching apps and lists, saving searches and sharing lists. By saving searches, users don’t have to redo their work and can see what’s new at the click of a button. With Insignio, users can create and organize apps in a list, add notes to each app in a list, comment and rate apps, and be directed to Android Market and iTunes stores to purchase apps.
“Today, as BridgingApps(TM) and a program of Easter Seals Houston, we find ourselves facing a tremendous opportunity to reach more people and help bridge the gap between technology and the end user. None of this would have been possible without the vision and support of Mr. Trammell and the founders of the program,” said Elise Hough, CEO of Easter Seals Greater Houston.
BridgingAppsTM was created by parents and therapists who began using the iPad with children who have disabilities. Sami Rahman sought to help his 2 year old son with Cerebral Palsy communicate. Cristen Reat was looking for a computer mouse her 6 year old son with Down syndrome could control. After a few months of using touch technology with their children, both parents observed amazing gains in speech, fine motor skills and realized the power of this device as a motivation for learning. They began to meet regularly to compare notes on favorite apps. The first meeting evolved into a website to share information with others. With over 500 users daily from all over the world, the information has a broad reach. Apps are reviewed by specialists including therapists and special education teachers, so the content is very rich. Elise Hough, CEO of Easter Seals Houston said “We are so proud of the incredible work and wide reach of BridgingAppsTM. The vision of its founders is being realized through the website and regular in person monthly meetings. BridgingAppsTM has provided training to numerous groups and schools, has expanded to Austin in collaboration with Easter Seals Central Texas and will soon expand to the Rio Grande Valley in collaboration with Easter Seals Rio Grande Valley. We will also be providing a certification in the use of touch technology with children who have disabilities in collaboration with the Texas Computer Education Association-an amazing amount of progress in less than a year since joining Easter Seals Houston.”
About Easter Seals Greater Houston
Easter Seals Greater Houston, Inc. is a non-profit corporation established to provide comprehensive services to individuals of all ages with all types of disabilities and their families. As the only local organization providing a broad range of comprehensive services to individuals and families affected by disabilities, Easter Seals of Greater Houston operates: Early Childhood Intervention; Respite Services; Toy/Tech & Play Groups including BridgingAppsTM; High School/High Tech; Home of Your Own; Therapy Services; The Caroline School, A Day Program; Camps, Counseling and Case Management; Social Motion Skills; and Adult Services. For more information about Easter Seals Greater Houston, visit www.ucphouston.org (Note: new web URL for Easter Seals Greater Houston will automatically click through). Visit us on Facebook and Twitter (@eastersealshou).