Starfish Labs develops Covid-19 app for people with special educational needs and disabilities

Welsh Government Innovation is supporting Starfish Labs Ltd to develop Covid-19 apps for people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to adapt living skills required to stay safe.

Society has been forced to accept a new way of living in the face of coronavirus. Blanket policies introduced to ensure the health and wellbeing of the population have different consequential impact on vulnerable groups such as those with special educational needs and disabilities, chronic illnesses and the elderly.

Business Wales reports the app development programme will demonstrate current advice for hand washing, social distancing, self-isolation, sanitation and cleaning, PPE and outdoor exercise in collaboration with public health professionals and experienced SEND educationalists. Users and carers can personalise content to their capabilities and environment, allowing photographs, videos and spoken instructions to be added from smartphones and tablets to create individualised versions of tasks in the user’s own environment. It will aid understanding of the Covid-19 crisis and changes to routine via a suite of apps customised to suit the individual using video, photos, illustrations, spoken word and Makaton sign language to enable accessibility, with emphasis on equal use of Welsh and English.

The apps will be specifically designed for vulnerable adults and those with SEND living in the community in Wales and will enable safer independent living and empowerment. If successful, the project will enable Starfish Labs to create employment in Wales and will enhance the company’s research, development  and innovation capabilities and activities and contribute to the company’s longer term sustainable growth.

Starfish Labs is a start-up business established at the AberInnovation offices at Aberystwyth University. They build mobile and web apps for training, education, healthcare and for people with learning difficulties and disabilities, and for the ageing population.

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