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Mother develops app for patients with autism

Shared by Rita Torrao on 2019-01-14 17:44

About the solution

Autism is a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors.

Therese’s son, Jack, was diagnosed with autism at 18 months, and she knows firsthand the difference early intervention can make with children with autism.

"When he was diagnosed, we went all out," Therese said. "My husband went part-time with his job. We did all the programs. One was called floor time, and we spent at least 20 minutes a day just getting in his face and working with him on verbal skills."

Jack, a gifted cellist, composes his own music. He has played to a packed Carnegie Hall as a student in the orchestra at Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts. And now, Jack, an autistic 21-year-old, is driving.

"It's a major milestone," said Therese. "Some things take longer for him, but people really don't know the incredible things that these kids can do. They're talented people, who just happen to have autism."

In 2012, Therese launched Training Faces, an application for iPads, iPhones and Android phones designed to help people like her son, Jack, with emotion recognition. The app, which is available in English and Spanish, has had thousands of downloads across the globe.

The game requires players to match a specified emotion with the correct picture of the passenger's facial expression, during a passenger train traveling around the world.

“The game is designed not only to help children with autism improve their emotion recognition, but better understand the meaning behind the expression and interpret expressions more quickly.” Therese said. "It helps them answer the question, 'Why are they happy or why are they sad?' "

Therese plans to give a percentage of each download to autism charities and research once her initial investment is recouped.

"It's my big, hairy, audacious goal," she said. "These kids know so much, but they're so underestimated. They just need a chance."

Adapted from: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/09/autism-app/1757647/

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Inspired by her 21-year-old son, Jack, Therese Wantuch, from Ohio, USA, created Training Faces, an app designed to help people with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome and other special needs with emotion recognition.

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