In a time when Y- and Z-generation teens and young adults are living such wired lives, Minnesota-based nonprofit Fraser is engaging the rapidly rising number of adolescents on the autism spectrum with communication-focused mobile applications.
Founded in 1935, Fraser brings over 75 years of special-needs experience to its autistic clients in the form of two important new mobile apps for the iPhone and iPod touch: QuickCues and
My Healthy Smile.
QuickCues, launched in April 2010, combines four different in-app modules to address a variety of social scripts:
- Communication helps with conversations, listening, reading body language and finding shared interests with others.
- Life Skills encourages good habits through routines, tasks, and assignments.
- Socialization promotes good relationships.
- Coping deals with positive emotional health.
The QuickCues Communication module is included originally for $4.99 and each additional module can be purchased for the same price. Every design, text and usage aspect of QuickCues was developed with its users in mind, including the name, which was devised by Minneapolis brand agency Yamamoto Moss Mackenzie.
“QuickCues started as a presentation format like [Apple] Keynote,” Bekki Freeman, co-founder of Minnesota-based Tiny Mission, Fraser’s enterprise-level mobile application developer, explained. “It’s focused at teenagers and tweens
to help improve their social skills and so the next logical step was to make it available to them when they needed it most.”
My Healthy Smile was developed by Fraser and Tiny Mission in October 2010 in partnership with Delta Dental in order to quell the anxiety that can arise when children visit the dentist. Anesthesia is often used to calm kids down, but can be risky and expensive. Research by Fraser has shown that simply educating kids about what to expect at the dentist can dramatically decrease stress.
“We feel that My Healthy Smile is valuable to anyone with dental anxiety,” says vice president and chief marketing officer of Fraser, Brenda Beukelman. “However, kids on the autism spectrum tend to have dental-office stress more often.”
My Healthy Smile is available for $4.99 at the Apple iTunes Store and has been showcased at industry trade shows, therapy provider offices and community events.
According to the CDC, an average of 1 in 110 children in the U.S. have an autism spectrum disorder.