Evening Echo – August 2013
A CREATIVE dad has designed a new app to tackle autism after he was inspired by his nine-year-old daughter.
Ian Jones started designing computer games with his brother for the Commodore 64 and Omega when he was just 15.
Now he has launched a pioneering reading application for Apple’s popular iPad that aims to help parents and teachers of autistic or dyslexic children or those with learning difficulties.
He was inspired to create it as his daughter Nieve has autism.
Ian, of Western Road, Leigh, said: ”The idea came to me when I was trying to read to her at bedtime.
“Nieve loves books, but struggles with words. Because she has autism she is very good with visual things and memories, but words are like Japanese to her.
“I suddenly realised that Nieve was more able to follow the story when there was a concrete association between the words and a related image.
“The app is about creating an association with things through pictures.
“I had searched the app store for something like this, but it was all picture cards for communication.
“I designed it on the principle that you can add images or videos to words, helping Nieve make the connection.”
Parents can create a storyboard with familiar pictures or videos assigned to words.
The child is then able to follow a story by either reading the words, or by seeing the image acting as a clue and then triggering the memory of the word.
Ian, a website designer by profession, said: “The app uses advanced text to speech technology, which allows the book content to be read out loud when appropriate.
“The user can also click the individual words to hear them spoken. This is done by Nieve’s friend Jena.”
The Visual Reading app comes with seven built in stories.
Price: £11.99 - $16.99 (PRO - All new/future books are unlocked)
Price: £3.99 - $5.99 (LITE - Books unlocked via In-app-purchase)