WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A Purdue-related startup is working to help children with autism improve their reading skills.
A group at Purdue is currently developing a one-of-a-kind software program with the potential to make a lasting impact.
Experience Design Group Founder and Purdue assistant clinical professor Nancy Rasche said, “I’m very excited about it, very motivated by helping others — that’s my thing that gets me up in the morning, it gets me doing what I like to do.”
The company was founded three years ago with one goal in mind.
“Our primary goal is to find instructional need for young children who need it most, usually children with autism or some type of disability,” she said.
Over the past three years, Rasche and a couple of students have been developing an app called Literacy Labels — a flagship software aimed at getting the company on its feet. The app is designed to improve comprehension skills.
“The children that we’ve worked with and tested it with are older, and they’re more on the moderate to severe in autism,” Rasche said.
How does the app work?
It works through scanning QR codes on printed labels.
“The whole idea with that app is that it connects the actual orthography of the word with the object, so connecting words with objects to help create that meaning so that they understand that every word has meaning,” Rasche said.
After downloading the app, the user is able to get on their computer where they can print off labels to stick on household objects. When a child scans the label’s QR code, the app will say and spell out the word.
Kids also have the chance to say and spell the word out themselves before moving onto the next object.
“We try and design apps that will get kids moving, that’s a wonderful way to keep them engaged and keep the time on task so they can learn more,” Rasche said.
The company has developed one app so far, but there are plans to expand in the future.
Rasche said down the road, she’s looking to further develop the program, possibly even partnering with a company that does similar work.
“We’re trying to get Literacy Labels out so people can use it,” she said. “So, that’s the number one priority.”
If you’d like more information about the software, you can visit the Experience Design Group’s website.