Global award for Grace App that helps children with autism


AN APPLICATION developed in Ireland to help children with autism to communicate has won a prestigious mobile content award.

The Grace App was chosen by a jury of international experts to receive the World Summit Award Mobile (WSA-Mobile) for e-Learning and education ahead of more than 400 other nominations.

The WSA-Mobile is a global initiative that promotes the world’s best mobile content and innovative applications within the framework of the United Nations. This year is the first time the ceremony has been held.

The Grace App was the idea of Lisa Domican, a mother of two children with autism, and teamed with Steven Troughton-Smith to develop the application, which can be used on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. The app is named after Ms Domican’s daughter.

Grace App replicates the existing Picture Exchange Communication System (Pecs), which is used by parents and educators of children with autism.

The system allows the children to communicate, building sentences through a book of laminated pictures that are attached to a board by velcro.

“The professionals are having to catch up with the parents,” she said. “They [therapists] will contact me because a parent has already got the iPod Touch, and may have even bought the app.”

Grace App, which is available on Apple’s store worldwide, has already won an award at this year’s Irish Web Awards, where it was named best mobile app. It has sold more than 600 copies since it went on sale almost a year ago.

Grace App was nominated by Martin Casey of internet consultancy Arekibo Communications, who described the application as “extraordinary”.

“It stands out as a brilliant combination of technology and innovation with real purpose,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see its success in the WSA awards and reiterates its brilliance.”

The award will be presented to Ms Domican at the United Nations WSA-mobile Winners’ Gala, conference and expo in Abu Dhabi next month.