TECH: New app provides much-needed help for parents of children with ASD

04 December 2018

Help-a is at hand

From the moment you receive a diagnosis for a child or a loved one, your life is altered forever. We chat to Stuart Kruger, founder of HELPA, to find out his story.

Tell us about your experience of parenting a child with autism?

My seven-year-old son has severe autism, and my experiences range from the good, the not-so-good, and the ‘oh… ok then’ bits!
Following the initial diagnosis, I remember having so many thoughts running through my head: “I can’t be alone! But how can I find who else is going through something similar?”

“If only I could just ask someone who understands what my child is going through. Anyone, anywhere!”

“I can’t even remember what happened yesterday, let alone last week!”

“Where did I put that form/ letter/ evidence? I just can’t keep on top of it all.”

Something that became very clear, very quickly, was the benefits of having a wider social care system which recognises, acknowledges and supports the requirements that we (as parents and carers) have too.

With 8,760 hours in each year, even if you receive excellent therapy and support during the week, you can’t take those specialists home with you. We found ourselves imagining being able to speak to a therapist in real time about a situation which was unfolding right at that moment. No need to wait for the next appointment, no need to drive anywhere – just a chance to deal with that one challenge, right now.

So, you designed an app to help!

Yes! All our thoughts and experiences were the catalyst for designing HELPA.

It’s a digital health app, co-designed by special needs parents and therapists, for special needs parents and therapists.

Our goal is to make it easier for families to share their experiences with others, no matter where they are in the world.

There are some other great features, like being able to store documents digitally, and being able to capture the moments that matter by using image, video, and evidence-based inputs. You can use those tools to share information with participating therapists and clinicians, in real-time.

And you have the support of leading foundations and service providers?

Yes, we are very excited and proud to be working with AEIOU as an Australian partner, bringing more support to more families around the country. We are also working with Autism NZ, Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre, Leap In!, Children’s Therapy Centre, Yarra Ranges Speech Pathology, and Acorn Autism. This support locally and abroad, plus our involvement in research, seeks to bring about change at a policy level, especially for parents. So, by using HELPA, you are also contributing directly to this research effort.

 



Stuart Kruger is founder of HELPA. Find out more at www.helpa.app


Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City
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