Bridging the gap between technology and people with disabilities.
BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, veterans, therapists, doctors, educators, and people with disabilities who share information on how apps and mobile devices can help people of all abilities reach their highest levels of physical, social and cognitive development.
The available research and the success stories we have captured reflect the potential power of using touch-based technology and proper training to significantly impact the lives of people with disabilities. These devices can also provide accessibility for people who may have been previously disengaged from the world as a result of challenging language, motor, or other developmental delays. BridgingApps is a community of parents, teachers, therapists, doctors, and people with disabilities who share information on how they are using touch-based, mobile devices such as the iPad®, iPhone®, iPodTouch® and Android® devices and apps with people who have special needs. We created this community to discuss technology in respectful, creative ways focusing on people of all ages who have disabilities.
Given the number of apps on the market and the diverse skills of children and adults with special needs, our goal is to provide caregivers and professionals with the best resources for choosing apps to enhance everyday life for people with disabilities and sharing their successes with others. In collaboration with speech language pathologists and occupational therapists, we have created an app review system that focuses on skills rather than age, diagnosis or developmental level to help improve outcomes for a person with a disability.
BridgingApps was created by parents and therapists who began using the iPad with children who have special needs. Sami Rahman sought to help his 2 year old son with Cerebral Palsy communicate. Cristen Reat was looking for a computer mouse that her 6 year old son with Down syndrome and a visual impairment could control. After a few months of using the iPad 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 their favorite apps. The first meeting evolved into a website to share information with others. Sami wrote iPad 4 Special Needs book to help parents on their technology journey. In 2011 BridgingApps found a forever home at Easter Seals Greater Houston and now serves thousands each year through the staging.bridgingapps.org website and in-person technology services in the Houston area.