AN AUTISTIC boy and his mother are creating an app to help him and others with similar needs lead a more fulfilling life.
James Malthouse, ten, from Tavistock, has been asking the public for help with raising money through his Crowdfunder campaign which ended last weekend.
Innovator James is determined to build an app to help himself and others with autism to conquer difficult everyday tasks.
From getting dressed to planning their daily tasks, the app is designed to provide the structure and engagement James can use to enjoy his day.
So far, the Crowdfunder has collectively raised over £1,000. This is to be used to match fund grants totalling £35,000. Every pound raised by this Crowdfunder is being matched by a grant from the Good Growth Fund.
James’ mum, Rachael Malthouse, currently a student, is supporting her son, along with his brother Harry, 11, to help James make his idea a reality.
She said: ‘This project means so much to myself and my two boys, Harry and James. We have built a prototype and tested it with autistic children and their carers with support from the University of Plymouth.
‘It received incredibly positive feedback, with one parent saying it could be game-changing for tasks like getting ready for school every morning. Now we need to get the app built so we can help lots of other families who we know would really benefit from this support.’
She added: ‘There’s not enough support for parents and carers of youngsters with autism and the waiting time for diagnosis is very long, so, this app will help fill in the gap in any support before and after diagnosis. ‘The idea is that the app be fun and engaging for children. It will break down everyday tasks — for James it’s leaving the house in the morning — that they are anxious about into bite-sized pieces and be manageable.’
James said he is looking forward to the app being finished. He suggested using a ‘pet’ character on the ap, which children can use to interact with.
Rachael, a physiotherapist, said: ‘It was James’ idea to have a ‘pet’ on the ap. Children can choose which pet they would like and the pet then gives advice and helps out with everyday tasks. It’s better than being nagged by your mum and dad and makes it more likely the child will react positively.’
The advice and tips from professionals, parents and carers and those with autism will also be relevant to children and young adults with neurological issues, including ADHD and brain injuries and who are likely to have difficulties concentrating and be easily distracted.
Consultation with groups of parents and children has helped with the app and meeting held and feedback gathered in-person or remotely. Rachael also created a video and survey she sent to parents and carers to gain feedback so the app is as helpful as possible. An initial form of the app will be stripped down and developed as it is used.