Ability All, an accessibility app
Posted Nov 1, 2019 by Jacquie Robison
"How would you feel if, when someone met you for the first time, all they saw was your walker or wheelchair? They didn't see that you love ombre nail polish or that your favorite book is Harry Potter? Instead, all they see is your disability -- and oftentimes they look away, unsure of what to say?"
This is the opening sequence of questions posed by Menlo-Atherton HS teen Stella Kaval in the video she created to outline her Girl Scouts Gold Award focus: to support children with Cerebral Palsy and shift perception of disability in her community.
Stella has been a Girl Scout since Kindergarten and is a member of Troop 30470 in Northern California. Our families have been friends for years and when Stella approached me, I was happy to share my experience as the parent of a child with CP along with our nonprofit's mission to disrupt the narrative around physical difference.
As Stella went about researching this topic, she learned a lot about CP, including that it's the most common motor disability in childhood, affecting 17 million people in the world. Additionally, no two people with a diagnosis of CP present the same way, and impact on an individual varies dramatically.
Stella had her own perceptions challenged and realized that many people might see a child with CP and assume his or her personality has been subdued because of it. However, through conversations and meetings with healthcare professionals and families of children with neuromuscular diagnoses, she saw that these children have vibrant, engaging personalities. She felt there was a gap in the conversation, particularly among youth, and that few people were talking about the unconscious bias around people with neuromuscular delays. She wanted to tackle this void to promote unity and understanding.
One element of her Gold Award is a submission to the 2019 Congressional App Challenge. Using Thunkable to code the app, Stella programmed a number of play-based activities to encourage gross and fine motor development. Completing each activity earns the child a badge, which goes on their digital cape, inspired by our WAWOS Wear walker cape program.
Congratulations to Stella for the creativity and hard work she put into building this resource for children and their families.
Ability All is a free app and will be available soon in the App Store and Google Play.