At the cusp of the tablet generation, Cristen Reat saw her child, who had down syndrome, and this convenient emerging technology and connected the dots. She helped start a support group in a therapy clinic where many parents were interested about why mobile devices and apps were so engaging to their children.
“We were just amazed about how our children with different types of disabilities were engaged with the devices, were able to communicate with the devices, and were making big strides in their therapy,” says Reat.
BridgingApps was founded by Reat and Sami Rahman in 2010, both seeking to help their children grow. The program became a part of Easter Seals of Greater Houston in 2011. The website currently boasts over 3,000 apps which users can sort through by category, age, price, skill, grade level, mobile device, and more. The apps are also able to benefit and treat veterans and their families.
HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 29, 2019) Easter Seals Greater Houston today announced it was awarded a $75,000 grant by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) as part of the company’s statewide effort to support
community-based organizations addressing social factors that impact health.
With these funds ESGH will serve 50 individuals that are veterans and or current military as well as their family members. This will include services such as digital trainings through app reviews and videos, face-to-face counseling and counseling via tele-health, especially for those without transportation or living in rural areas. The funding will also help create sustainability for Easter Seals Greater Houston’s behavioral health services by securing contracts to provide services, by leveraging services through tele-medicine and the use of apps and mobile technology to support traditional counseling and combining mental health services with wrap around
service through tele-health.
“We are so grateful for the generous investment BCBSTX is making in Easter Seals Houston. Not only will it be matched dollar for dollar by Health and Human Services Texas Veterans + Family Alliance grant, it but will allow us to provide life changing services to military families while sharing what we learn with people around the world
through our BridgingApps website,” said Elise Hough, CEO of Easter Seals Greater Houston.
Investing in and partnering with like-minded organizations on community health initiatives builds on BCBSTX’s long history of supporting local communities and helping families and individuals thrive. Through these efforts, BCBSTX aims to help improve the lives of people in the communities it serves by addressing social factors that affect health and well-being. Easter Seals Greater Houston is proud to have partnered with BCBSTX for many
years through special event and grant funding and is honored to be on the forefront of mental health with them.
“As the largest health insurer in Texas with a presence in 254 counties, we have a unique and big-picture perspective about social influencers that are affecting not only our members but Texans in general,” said Dr. Dan McCoy, President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. “We also have a responsibility to be actively involved with helping to change the trajectory for Texans when it comes to community health and those social
and environmental conditions that prevent people from having healthy lives.
“Our aim in seeking collaborative partners to invest in is to not only improve the health of our members, but also the health of communities we serve,” McCoy continued. “That’s why partnering with organizations that are on the ground connecting people to the services that they need – transportation, housing and behavioral health
resources – is so vitally important.”
About Easter Seals Greater Houston
Easter Seals Greater Houston, Inc. is a non-profit corporation established to provide comprehensive services to individuals of all ages with all types of disabilities and their family members. For more information, visit
HOUSTON, TX (JUNE 26, 2019) — Today, Easter Seals Greater Houston, announced that its’ national award winning BridgingApps Program received a $15,000 grant from the Comcast Foundation as part of the Comcast NBCUniversal Assistive Technology Grant Fund. This support will expand the available equipment used in its’ community technology labs with new equipment such as the TobiiDynavox EyeMobile Mini Classic Eye Gaze system that includes new software called Look To Learn and SnapCore First, and the AbleNet Latitude Mounting Arm that holds an iPad, Kindle or other tablet and mounts to beds, wheelchairs and tabletops. Both programs will benefit children and adults who need to use their eyes to operate computers to communicate and control their environment, which improves their educational, social and health outcomes. BridgingApps provides a bridge between low-cost, readily available technology and people with disabilities. In addition, the program provides training for teachers, doctors, therapists, family members, and caregivers of the person with a disability.
Easter Seals Greater Houston is one of 12 Easterseals affiliates across the country selected to receive a grant from the Comcast Foundation as part of the Comcast NBCUniversal Assistive Technology Grant Fund. Established in 2011, this fund supports technology programs and services that benefit children and adults, including veterans, living with disabilities. These technologies can vary from braille-equipped handheld computer systems to augmentative communication devices and everything in between.
“We thank Comcast NBCUniversal for its’ continued support of people with disabilities through investment in assistive technology solutions,” said Elise Hough, Easter Seals Houston CEO. “This grant fund gives us the ability to offer additional life-changing, innovative solutions to veterans and individuals with disabilities and their families.”
Since 2011, the Comcast NBCUniversal Assistive Technology Grant Fund has empowered an estimated 57,000 Americans living with disabilities by providing expanded assistive technology training and services. To date, Comcast NBCUniversal has provided nearly $35 million in cash and in-kind support to help Easterseals and to advance assistive technology solutions nationwide. Locally Comcast has supported Easter Seals Greater Houston for many years and has donated in excess of $75,000.
Assistive technology such as speech generating devices can assist individuals with disabilities to express themselves, have social interactions, and participate in their community to enhance their quality of life. Recently, an Easter Seals Houston client was effectively using technology to communicate. However, the school she attended did not support this device and the child was given a substitute unavailable to her speech therapist. With Comcast’s generous grant, Easter Seals will be able to purchase the communication device for the lab to continue to support this child –as well as many others–as she grows, develops and becomes more independent.
About Easter Seals Greater Houston
Easter Seals Greater Houston, Inc. is a non-profit corporation established to provide comprehensive services to veterans, children and adults with all types of disabilities and their family members. For more information, please visit www.eastersealshouston.org or on Facebook and Twitter (@eastersealshou).
BridgingApps.org, a program of Easter Seals Houston and 2014 winner of the Verizon Powerful Answers Award for education, provides the access, education, and resources needed to effectively use mobile, touch-based devices to help people with disabilities communicate, exceed educational goals, and reach their fullest potential. For more information, visit www.bridgingapps.org.
About the Comcast Foundation
The Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation invests in programs intended to have a positive, sustainable impact on the communities the company serves. Its mission is to empower communities to thrive by helping to provide access to technology, relevant digital skills and training, and inspiring volunteerism and service.
More information about how Comcast available at www.comcast.com/community.
it serves is
HOUSTON, March 1, 2018 — The BridgingApps Program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is partnering with SeniorNet (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida) to share information on using mobile devices and apps to support learning goals and the independence of people with disabilities, veterans, older adults, seniors and caregivers.
With the support of the CTA Foundation, BridgingApps has developed online content for the BridgingApps website related to the use of mobile devices and apps to improve physical, cognitive and social health of older adults and people with disabilities. This partnership with SeniorNet provides a bridge between available mobile devices and apps and users who seek to use the technology to support learning goals, increase levels of independence and enhance their lives.
“With the rise of smartphone and tablet use among seniors, there is great potential for older adults to leverage this technology to stay connected with others, be more involved in managing health issues, and to live independently,” says Cristen Reat, BridgingApps Co-Founder. “Providing a trusted resource that includes a database of vetted apps, short videos, and how-to articles will support those interested in using their device to the fullest.”
“All of the key trends and analysis point to the significant increase of mobile devices. The partnership with BridgingApps supports our mission of knocking down barriers and educating our targeted communities in effectively using the latest technology and gadgets,” said Leslie M. Smith, SeniorNet President & CEO and Retired IBM Business Development Executive.
BridgingApps’ free website houses a database of apps reviewed by speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists, special education teachers and other professionals. Its custom-built app search tool helps users filter the thousands of available apps for a particular need, down to a few. Curated app lists for veterans, older adults, people with disabilities and others are consistently updated and added to as new apps become available.
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation will award more than $500,000 in grants to nine organizations that use innovative solutions and technology to further the Foundation’s mission of linking seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives.
HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Children with disabilities are highly at risk for low muscle mass, obesity or undernourishment, and eating issues. The $30,000 Amerigroup Foundation grant will support the Easter Seals Greater Houston’s, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, BridgingApps Program, which teaches children with disabilities about the importance of nutrition and physical activity on health. This generous grant will enable BridgingApps to create a program that leverages the power of mobile technology and apps to help improve the health of children with a range of cognitive and physical disabilities.
HOUSTON, Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Easter Seals Greater Houston and its collaborative partners have been chosen as recipients of the Texas Veterans + Family Alliance grant program from Texas Health and Human Services Commission with the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute serving as the program administrator. Houston, which has the 2nd highest population of veterans in the U.S., will have some critically needed funding for mental health services to reach veterans as well as their families. The progress to come, thanks to this award, gives us one more reason to celebrate this Veterans Day.
AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith announced that Texas has approved up to $10 million in grants to help Texas veterans and their families manage mental health issues. Fourteen community groups across the state will receive the grants. “We need to take care of veterans, who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms,” Commissioner Smith said. “This grant program offers innovative ways to address the mental health needs of our veterans and their families. We must do whatever it takes to help these Texas heroes.” The funds, awarded as part of HHSC’s Texas Veterans + Family Alliance grant program, help improve quality of life for Texas veterans and their families by increasing access to mental health treatment and services.
HOUSTON, Sept. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The BridgingApps Program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is proud to announce it has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services. This grant will enable BridgingApps to create an online tool to assist Texas families with children who have special health care needs access information to prepare and successfully help them transition to adulthood.
Funding a mobile game or a celebrity app is often easier than finding backers for special needs and not-for-profit applications. But the growing interest in mobile health is helping bridge the gap.
Depending on their function and subject matter, apps are either funded by big companies, public donations, or paid for by interested organizations and individuals. Funding is typically available for research and development, and for proofs of concept – early demonstrations showcasing the feasibility of a product.
HOUSTON, July 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The BridgingApps Program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has launched Go For the Goal – Your Story contest; an invitation to those with disabilities to share a story of setting a personal goal and working toward achieving it. The campaign will appear on BridgingApps Facebook page and BridgingApps.org website.
TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CareSync, the leading provider of software and services for chronic disease management, today announced that the company’s founder and CEO, Travis Bond, will be speaking at the 2016 South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Interactive Festival. Bond will present alongside representatives from BridgingApps A Program of Easter Seals Houston and Texas Children’s Hospital, as well as Henry Furler, a 17-year-old coping with multiple chronic diseases. The session, “Apps and Better Medical Outcomes: Real Solutions,” will highlight how mobile solutions can help patients, like Furler, better manage their illnesses and achieve medical independence.
The BridgingApps program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has launched an introductory course on Udemy, the global marketplace for online education, this week. BridgingApps is a community of parents, therapists, teachers, and people with disabilities who share information on how to use mobile devices such as the iPad and Android devices with people who have special needs. This interactive course, Getting Started with Mobile Devices for Special Needs: Accessories and Safety is offered free of charge and is the first in a planned series of online learning from BridgingApps.
BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is making progress with support from the CEA Foundation to use technology to help seniors with disabilities. The funding allowed BridgingApps to expand its website content, create filters, develop self-directed online training and provide in-person trainings focused on seniors and other adults with disabilities in the use of mobile devices and apps.
As a parent of a son with Asperger’s and a son with Down syndrome, Cristen Reat is always looking for ways to use technology and apps to help her children in their daily lives. Cristen co-founded BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, to help create a community of parents, therapists, doctors, teachers, and people with disabilities who share information about using mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to improve the lives of people with special needs.
The New Year brings with it a fresh start and mantras about getting organized, de-cluttering and resolving to be more efficient. Sometimes integrating a simple tool into your routine can have a big payoff on efficiency and more peace of mind.
Arlington, VA – 08/04/2014 – The CEA Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, announced its support of BridgingApps, a project of the Easter Seals of Houston with a grant to support their work in identifying accessibility apps. The funding will expand BridgingApps’ website content, create filters, allow them to develop self-directed online instruction and provide in-person trainings for seniors and other adults with disabilities focused on the use of mobile devices and apps to improve their physical, mental and cognitive health outcomes.
Cristen Reat is a stellar communicator. She has interpreted military secrets from one language to another, is proficient in several languages and holds a master’s degree in Russian literature. One of her career highlights, however, is as a mom: when she found a way to make communication and learning easier for her sons Vincent and Martin and many other children with special needs.
This holiday season you have purchased an iPad for your child—now what? We know that looking for appropriate apps can be overwhelming and figuring out how to get started with an iPad can turn a well-intentioned giver into a Grinch!
As the school year gets underway, parents of children with special needs are overwhelmed with information, IEP goals, and transition challenges. Here are some app ideas for supporting learning by making it less daunting and more accessible and enjoyable.
Noah Rahman has moderate Cerebral Palsy affecting his communication, cognition and upper and lower body movement. When he turned two, his language, cognitive abilitity and fine motor skills were diagnosed by a developmental specialist as being at least 12 months behind. Then Noah got an iPad.