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United Kingdom
Accessible Product

Global Elevate Awards Winner 2016

Category: Media & Entertainment,

Nomination Details

Organization name: Falkirk Council

Launched Date: 2015-03-23

Who has created it: Lesley Beath

Problem statement and how the Accessible Innovation solves the problem.

Children at the Falkirk Council Children with Disabilities service struggled to use traditional remote controls or more complex specialist environmental control units. The service's occupational therapist, identified the need for simplified switch accessible remote control that could be programmed for each child.

The children worked with the occupational therapist to advice the app development company on how the app needed to look and work. The app now allows children to choose their favourite tv programme using a switch. The switch can be controlled by whatever physical ability the child has - it could be a single finger tap or a foot tap.

Also included in the app is a fantastic story mode feature! Make interactive stories with the story maker: add story pages with images, text, sounds and an action button which allows you to control a remote control toy from your iPad. Make as many stories with as many pages as you want to!

Tell us who is the target audience and how the accessible innovation will benefit them. Please specify the different target audiences groups and provide numbers and statistics of your current clients as well as what is the potential number of people that the innovation can impact and empower:

The app was designed for and with children with physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. This app would benefit all children with complex physical disabilities who benefit from either switch access or from an accessible iPad app to control their TV, small appliances or even toys.

The potential number of people that the innovation could impact and empower is difficult to fully estimate, but based on UNICEF's 2013 report, we estimate that worldwide, this could be up to 6 million children with a severe physical disability. The app not only allows children to control their TV and toys, but to be more independent and control simple devices in their home, such as lights, door openers and small electric appliances. These can all be adjusted using equipment available from regular hardware stores.

How is the accessible innovative solution different from current practices or ways of solving the problem?

This is different to more traditional environmental control units, as it is made using regular appliances available in hardware stores. It uses mainstream technology on an iPad and has been designed WITH children with disabilities. It also teaches skills that can be used as the child gets older!

How is the accessible innovative solution new, different or unique in terms of the technology or implementation?

The app was designed with a lot of involvement from the children using the service. The opportunity to develop the app was taken up by staff, children and parents. Children on the Activity Scheme tried it, parents came to workshops and discussions, trials were carried out in a residential setting in the homes of short breaks carers. Even our Art Group looked at designing a logo. A young man from the Art Group for children with disabilities designed this logo.

How do you get the innovative solution to reach the target audience? Please elaborate on the your go to market strategy and which geographies do you currently work in and what are your future plans for marketing your innovation.

The product is available on the iTunes AppStore and the marketing strategy is to promote it via social media and to parents of service users. The use of twitter and facebook has been successful. Word of mouth also helps parents tell other parents about the app

What is the potential impact of the innovative solution on the lives of the target audience? Please elaborate by providing statistics of the current impact and the potential impact.

The potential impact is helping children to be more independent in making choices at home and school; working on important skills such as cause-effect and being able to control the environment using a switch. Being more independent would also help in accessing education, social and employment opportunities. In turn, this aids quality of life and the ability to more actively participate in all aspects of their routine and social life.

Stories of how the Innovation has touched lives.

Straight away the young people concerned and their parents commented that the level of independence in their environmental choices was increased. “I do not need to keep changing the channel” said one parent. “I needed to tell him to turn the volume down like any other child.” said another. Access to the full environmental control service would not be a cost effective provision in an economic resources challenged world.

Links to a few videos about the innovation: