A new mobile application, SOFA, is looking to make life easier for persons on the autism spectrum and their relatives or caregivers.
Autism typically affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others and their environment. That’s where the SOFA App (Stories Online for People with Autism) comes in. It uses social stories to help people on the spectrum better understand what is socially acceptable behaviour and what is not.
The app comes with an extensive story library about common situations and activities, which are easy to use and adapt. They also cover a wide range of topics from personal hygiene, going to the dentist and COVID-19.
Using sequencing to explain events has even been shown help reduce anxiety and overstimulation of senses.
The SOFA was initially developed by a research team based within the Centre of Applied Autism
Research at the University of Bath (UK), in collaboration with a number of local schools for autistic children and families from the autism community.
However, its development was only made possible through the collaboration of the Inspire Foundation and Epic, formerly known as the Vodafone Malta Foundation.
“This project has been three years in the making and it has been an incredible journey of collaboration, learning and development – as a result of our partnership with the University of Bath and Epic.”
“We feel very proud to have been involved in a project that will surely help support many children with autism around the world prepare for events or situations that are not the normal routine,” Paula Doumanov, Chief Services Officer at Inspire Foundation said.
The Inspire Foundation provides specialised programmes for children on the autism spectrum, including early intervention services. The educational and therapeutic programmes are accredited by the National Autistic Society (UK). At present, 188 children make use of such programmes.
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