Much APPlause for This Dad—And the Autism-Friendly App He Created!A. Stout
Dads are awesome. They encourage us, inspire us, and make so many sacrifices on our behalf. They try their hardest to ensure our health and happiness.
But one Pennsylvania dad has gone above and beyond his fatherly call of duty. He’s now striving to make life better for other people’s kids—the kids with autism, anyway! How so? With an app!
The man’s name is Topher Wurts. His thirteen-year-old son, Kirby, was diagnosed with ASD at the age of eighteen months. Like many autism families, the Wurts’ family faced unique challenges when leaving home. Kirby is susceptible to sensory overload, so they needed to avoid places that could be overstimulating.
This challenge caused Mr. Wurts to devise a brilliant idea. What if there were a Yelp-like app for autism families? That is, what if people could rate and review the “autism-friendliness” of various public locations such as parks, museums, and restaurants?
Using his business-savvy, he’s now making that happen.
The app is called Autism Village. Through this new piece of technology, autism families (as well as adults with ASD) will be able to find out if a public location is too noisy, has lights that are too bright, accommodates dietary needs, is understanding toward children with autism, and more. In other words, it will help people find “autism-friendly” businesses and locations.
The app is expected to launch worldwide sometime this summer (according to the Kickstarter page, Wurts recently received the app’s first software). It will start out as an iOS app, and if that format is successful, it’ll become available for Android phones, too, and then tablets. Across the board, it will be free—allowing a wide range of families to improve their children’s quality of life.
As Wurts noticed during a school district meeting, not all autism families are able to receive the support they need. While an app like Autism Village is wonderful, it can’t help its target audience recover from a class 5 tornado or a terminal illness in the family or a foreclosing home. But you can. Read on to find out how.