For his school project, nine-year-old Sean Porter designed app to help his six-year-old brother with non-verbal autism to communicate.
Southport boy creates app to help children with non-verbal autism communicate
Nine-year-old Sean Porter from Southport, near Liverpool, was originally asked to create a game for a school project, but the boy took it one step further in a bid to help his little brother, and designed an app for him and other non-verbal children and those with autism in order to help them communicate better.
Sean hopes to make his app more user specific for the needs of each child
A nine-year-old boy has made an app for non-verbal children and those with autism like his brother to help them communicate.
Sean Porter, from Southport, near Liverpool, was originally asked to code a game for a project at his school Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School on Grantham Road in Birkdale. However, the nine-year-old had other ideas and wanted to help children similar to his six-year-old brother Adam who in the past struggled to speak.
So the clever schoolboy came up with an app which allows children to press a picture of what they are trying to say, which speaks out loud for them.
Speaking to the Liverpool ECHO, proud mum Kirsty Nestor said: "Sean is older and Adam was diagnosed with autism when he was two-and-half, but he never used to speak or anything like that and had intensive speech therapy. Sean grew up with those sort of traits with an autistic brother and he is really into coding and computers and his dad has taught him loads and loads of stuff.
"He had a project to do in school and it was supposed to be to code a game but he asked his teacher if it was OK to code the app instead because Adam attends ASD specialist provision at Sean’s school and one of his friends doesn’t speak and he is classed as non-verbal. So Sean came up with the idea of creating an app for children who can’t speak for day-to-day needs more than anything."
Sean also hopes to make his app more user specific for the needs of each child. Kirsty said: "He wants to go more into it and if it does go anywhere he wants to make it user specific for each specific child.
The family trialled the app with six-year-old Adam which was a success and they hope to trial it on a family friend who is non-verbal.
Sean’s Headteacher Mr McCann also praised the clever nine-year-old and tweeted about his project. He said: "Well this young man has only gone and developed his own app for non-verbal children. Absolutely amazing. I’ve told him to remember me when he is rich and famous!”
app has opened up more choice for Adam
Speaking enthusiastically to ITV News about the app, Sean said: “I knew that if I didn’t develop this app, then I don’t know anyone who would think of it.
“It feels absolutely amazing – I feel wonderful.”
“People generally don’t think about other people. They think “if I make this amazing invention I am going to be epic and famous and have loads of money – but they don’t focus on anyone else and how it affects them.”
According to recent studies, it’s estimated that 40% of children with autism are non-verbal, which means that they may never learn to speak more than a few words – but Adam’s father Liam is hoping this app might help change that statistic.
“Him asking for food, telling us he was hurt, asking to go to the toilet, it was basically guess work,” Liam Porter said.
“This app has opened up more choice for Adam after we created the app he has asked for more things and is developing faster.”
Click here to watch ITV interview.
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