BridgingApps’ goal is to explore practical, useful, and educationally sound ways to use the iPad and similar devices with people of all ages and ability levels.
BridgingApps helps users choose apps for children and adults that are appropriate, useful and life-enhancing. With the overwhelming number of apps emerging on a daily basis, this seemingly simple task becomes challenging with children and adults who are developmentally or physically delayed and many parents and well-intentioned professionals are at a loss as to how to get started.
BridgingApps is comprised of parents, therapists, teachers, doctors, people with disabilities and assistive technology professionals who test and review these apps and wish to share their findings and experience to help others. With the special needs user in mind, we intend to provide supplementary information in conjunction with the developer’s app description.
For example, for most children with special needs, age categories provided by the developer may not be particularly helpful in selecting apps because of the scattered skill sets these children possess. Such a wide range of skills can be related to particular disabilities as well as to a whole host of variables, such as individual differences, environment, rate of development, etc.
The supplementary information provided by BridgingApps includes an assessment level, a list of embedded skills, a narrative of trialing the app and where possible, short video clips.
While there are many educational websites featuring app technology, BridgingApps strives to provide more detailed information about apps as it pertains to people with disabilities. Please keep in mind that we understand there are a wide range of skill levels, and many older children or those with higher skills in particular areas may use assistive apps on their own.
For apps that can be used with school aged children K-12, BridgingApps strives to include information that relates to the Common Core Standards, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS, with more states’s standards to be added) and IEP goals, where possible. Learn more about the Common Core Standards and which states have adopted them.
The carefully reviewed assessment level given in years and months can help users who have knowledge of a person’s abilities in specific areas.
When BridgingApps began in 2010, we found that most people in our group have or work with those who have four broad categories of disability: Autism, Global Developmental Delay, Cerebral Palsy and Down syndrome. We soon discovered that choosing apps by focusing on age or diagnosis was not the best way to search for a helpful app. Many people have multiple diagnoses that can further complicate this process. We also considered evaluating apps based on developmental levels, but this rating was too broad. However, what we did find useful was focusing on a particular skill that has little to do with chronological age. Skill levels are fairly clearly defined and can be identified in a particular app.
The assessment level is based upon, but is not limited to, three nationally accepted assessment tools specifically designed for therapists and parents to evaluate children with special needs. The level provided by BridgingApps is a range that includes our assessment of the lowest level skill a person should possess to use the app independently or with minimal hand-over-hand assistance.
THRIVE Financial Technology Vetting Framework:
United Way THRIVE convenes a group of its non-profit partners that work to identify and evaluate financial technology or FinTech that will safely and effectively move a family on a pathway towards financial stability. The group recognizes there are two major distinctions within FinTech platforms:
THRIVE’s evaluation framework focuses on five key areas:
Readers and viewers are reminded that the views expressed at BridgingApps are opinions only. We acknowledge that others may disagree with our supplementary information as they relate to apps. We reiterate that our intentions are motivated solely by the desire to assist families, friends, and professionals who help children with a variety of abilities use app technology appropriately. Reviews of apps are of the app as it existed at the time of the review and may not account for any changes in the app when and if a new version is released.
No warranty is made as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site. Any information provided herein is not intended as medical advice. BridgingApps urges users to seek additional professional advice regarding any concerns about a child’s health or development.