Many people with autism function well in their community until something interrupts their normal routine. Currently the response has been to provide increased physical support to the person creating a culture of dependence on services and is restrictive. The four councils in the SHIP area (Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton) have been working to design and co-produce with people with autism a digital App for phone/tablet with their technical partner to enable people with autism to positively self-manage their lives.. We already have a working prototype and wish to improve it’s functionality and flexibility to empower people to achieve independence, increase confidence, enhance communication and support their safety.
Our aim is twofold – The setup of the App is labour intensive, we would digitalise the application process putting the person much more in control of their own information and how it is up loaded and maintained on the App. Secondly to working with our technical partner and representatives from the autism community to extend the function of the App beyond being a recognisable alert hard copy “card” evolving it into a person-centered support device.
In developing their Autism Strategies each of the councils spoke to people with autism who almost universally wanted more choice and control in their lives. Many advised that they are technically adept and find interaction with a form of digital support more beneficial and often easier to understand than face to face contact. We have successfully piloted the App across the area and currently have 65 users who have informed the discovery phase and who would form the basis of our research group. This will inform us and our technical partner how the functionality of the Mpro5 platform, we use currently use, can be improved.
The digitalisation of the application process would be web based streamlining, automating and simplifying the process and would include information videos for applicants to watch on line of how to set up and use the app written by and delivered by people with autism.
We have already received interest from other councils and outside organisations – in particular the police, however, the labour intensive set up is currently a barrier to uptake. The fund would give us an opportunity to develop the App and offer our learning and the technology to other councils and partners.
- Introduction to user research
- Introduction to service design
- Introduction to delivery management
- Introduction to product management