When your child is first diagnosed with Autism you are shocked, devastated, sad and at a loss as to know what to do next. You have had many meetings with schools, with consultants, with Paediatricians, with SENCO’s… with anybody who will listen. With the diagnosis you begin to think that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel; that once everyone knows about your child, understands about your child’s diagnosis and limitations, then surely school or life will get easier………..
In some respects, things do get easier as you travel through life with your Autistic child, but in other ways things only get more complicated. I (Ali) have three kids on the autistic spectrum and my friend Yasmin has four. We met at a support group for parents and carers with children on the autistic spectrum. Over the years we have had a multitude of conversations about how we can help our kids. In reality, we the parents, are the only ones who are there for our kids; schools and SENCO’s have to think of everyone’s kids, and that is a big job!
Recently in one of our conversations about helping our kids navigate the world, one of us said I wish there was a phone app that my child could have on his/her phone that would just tell everyone out there who they are,…………….
Being parents of high functioning Autistic kids you would think that we would be tech wise, but we are not……so when Yasmin told me we had been invited to a hackathon because of our idea for an app, I was very surprised and clueless. Yasmin had been working for the Leicestershire County Council, they had set up a project with De Montfort University to attempt overcome issues in society with the help of technology; hence the hackathon.
Still wondering what a hackathon is?
Well, it is a room filled with very clever, people who love working with computers, and unlike the rest of us, computers seem to like them! We (Yasmin and Ali) presented the challenge of autistic kids not being understood outside their own homes and put forward our idea for a phone App. We were assigned some wonderful people to work with us for the duration of the hackathon (48 hours). It was truly amazing to see these young people work. At the end of the 48hrs we left with our heads spinning and the promise of an end product.
Our end product is AutisMe: ‘A personal passport for those with autism’.