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US teen creates apps to help people with special needs

US teen creates apps to help people with special needs
Source: BrightVibes

Florida teenager has developed an app to help his brother make new friends in a new town, and other apps for differently-abled people.

Johnny’s brother Cristian was having trouble making friends.

When Johnny Ciocca and his family moved to a different state, they soon realised Johnny’s brother Cristian was having trouble making friends. Instead of simply helping his brother meet some new friends, Johnny created an app to help non-verbal and differently-abled people everywhere become more social and independent.

Brotherly love Johnny Ciocca saw his brother with Down syndrome having a hard time meeting new friends, so the teen set out to fix it by creating multiple apps specifically for people with special needs. Source: Facebook/UpworthyVideo

Teenager wanted to create something more meaningful to help his brother

At first glance High School student Johnny Ciocca seems to be your average US teenager. The good-looking heart-throb loves hanging out with his friends, spending quality time with his brother and is into computers. But unlike most other High School students Johnny has already launched 35 apps and is now making headlines with his fairly new apps that cater to people with special needs. If you already feel like a low-achiever right now, wait until you read this: Johnny is only 17 years old.

The High School student from Estero, Florida taught himself how to develop apps and has been doing so for a couple of years now. Recently he had enough of developing retro arcade games and apps that help people to stay on schedule. Johnny wanted to create something far more meaningful that would help his older brother Christian, who suffers from Down syndrome. Christian used to have a big social circle thanks to an organisation called Fantastic Friends which pairs teens and young adults who have special needs with volunteers of the same age and interests. When the entire family left their home in New Jersey and moved to Southwest Florida they soon had to realise that finding friends would be a lot more difficult for Christian. The boys’ father says: ”We realised there wasn’t a place to find stuff for Christian, like activities.“ That’s why the family launched their own Fantastic Friends chapter back in November and Johnny started to work on apps that would make his brother’s life even easier.

(This story was first published by TopVotedApps.com in March. To see full article, click.)

Source: TopVotedApps

So far the most successful of these apps is one called 'MyVoice – Tap or Type to Talk'. It is an innovative app that helps individuals express their feelings, thoughts, actions and needs. 'MyVoice' is used in homes, schools and by professionals in a range of fields
MyVoice delivers quick, easy communication anywhere So far the most successful of these apps is one called ‘MyVoice – Tap or Type to Talk’. It is an innovative app that helps individuals express their feelings, thoughts, actions and needs. ‘MyVoice’ is used in homes, schools and by professionals in a range of fields Source: Facebook/TapOrType

app will actually speak for a person and give them a real voice

So far the most successful of Johnny’s apps is one called MyVoice – Tap or Type to Talk which allows non-verbal people to communicate with others through a Picture Exchange Communication System. 

This app will actually speak for a person and give them a real voice. This particular app has been downloaded 150 times. But Johnny also ”wanted to create a way for Christian to meet new people.“  That’s why he launched a brand-new social network called youBelong two weeks ago. This network allows people with special needs and their families to connect with each other and 18-year-old Christian has been loving this app so far!

Features of MyVoice – Tap or Type to Talk include:

Text to Speech: This allows the user to type anything they like and have MyVoice speak it for them. The app also has the ability to speed up and slow down the rate at which the speech is spoken to further the accessibility of the app.

Picture Talk: This has many different categories of image that the user can navigate through and then have them spoken by MyVoice by simply tapping the simplistic images.

• Mirror Talk: This uses the iPhone’s front facing camera to allow the user to align their face with an outline of a face. The face animates and the user follows the animation to exercise their facial muscles. This feature will help people who have suffered from strokes learn to convey expressions through simple exercises. 

Word Talk: This means your next random word to read is just a shake or tap away. Reading the word aloud will show your reading volume level.

Source: TopVotedApps

A quick search on Apple’s App Store reveals dozens of apps developed by Johnny. The inventive teenager said he’s been learning how to program and create apps since 2012.
Johnny has already launched 35 apps A quick search on Apple’s App Store reveals dozens of apps developed by Johnny. The inventive teenager said he’s been learning how to program and create apps since 2012. Source: AndrewWest/TheNewsPress

A bright future

Even though Johnny is still dedicated to developing other apps that cater to people with special needs, he has to focus on his college applications right now. Have a guess at his favoured subject… That’s right, Johnny wants to study computer science, and we’re sure that he will do just fine!

Make an Impact

How to help those who have a disability

If you want to know how to help people with disabilities, there are many routes you can take. Simply learning how to effectively communicate comes first, but you can also offer your services as a volunteer or educator. Here is a 12-Step guide on where to begin.