App Ideas

While you may submit a mobile app or app design based on your own idea, it might help you to read through our goals as well as some mobile app ideas below.

Our goals

  • Produce one or more mobile apps (or mobile app designs) that are useful to autistic individuals and/or their family members, and/or collect meaningful research data
  • Engage existing SPARK participants
  • Incentivize new SPARK registrations
  • Raise awareness among students of the challenges faced by autistic individuals and their family members

In April 2017, we asked the SPARK community to give us some feedback about how much they liked 5 of our mobile app ideas. Some respondents also sent us their own ideas about useful mobile apps.

Our ideas, ranked by interest

  1. 83% (2,226) respondents were “Very interested” or “Interested” in:
    A tool that logs your answers to daily questions, and charts these to show trends in behavior, for example sleep, mood, aggression, etc.
  2. 79% (1,902) respondents were “Very interested” or “Interested” in:
    A tool that lets you quickly log and track important events, such as tantrums, escape attempts or demonstrations of a target behavior, as they happen.
  3. 78% (1,889) respondents were “Very interested” or “Interested” in:
    A tool that allows you to easily send notes or records to teachers and providers.
  4. 75% (1,812) respondents were “Very interested” or “Interested” in:
    A tool that allows you to compare your interests or problems with those of a larger community.
  5. 70% (1,681) respondents were “Very interested” or “Interested” in:
    A tool that allows you to send messages to, and receive messages from, private communities of individuals with a similar set of interests or problems.

Additional ideas from the SPARK community

Tracking, correlation and display tools
Calendar, reminder and alerting tools
Knowledge base, guides, educational, tips and solutions tools
Notebook, logging and daily diary tools
Networking and communication tools
Technical aspects of tools

Tracking, correlation and display tools

  • Correlates behaviors with diet, exercise and surroundings
  • Tracks eating patterns including any food reactions
  • Logs and displays seizure events
  • Tracks when a new medication, therapy, or treatment was started or changed in order to relate them to mood, behavior, etc.
  • Logs unusual events during the day, such as breaks in routine
  • Documents food and diet sensitivities and correlates infractions with gastrointestinal events
  • Allows adults with autism to track their own behaviors
  • Correlates entered data with ingested foods
  • Correlates entered data with local weather and barometric pressure
  • Correlates foods with behaviors, language and advancements
  • Tracks good and bad behaviors in children and allows parents to change size of rewards based on the tracked behaviors
  • Allows caregivers, teachers, and therapists to track behaviors
  • Tracks and charts toilet issues in order to make training more successful
  • Tracks and correlates medications or other interventions, sleep patterns and diet to behaviors
  • Tracks seizure and allergy events
  • Tracks a child’s physical location on a map
  • Tracks blood pressure
  • Tracks behavioral issues, but also allows for entry of qualifying notes and comments, for example, medication dosage changes, missed medication, new therapist, etc.
  • Tracks behavioral issues, but also allows for entry of daily positive, amusing anecdotes or stories–for example, when a child says something funny, reacts in an interesting way to new foods, or shows some positive behavior not seen before–in other words, balance the “problem” collecting with “bright side” moments
  • Tracks behavioral issues in children, but also allows for entry of parental responses
  • Tracks sleep patterns
  • Tracks other mood and behavioral issues, such as anxiety, depression and ADHD, so that they can be used to improve social, organizational and emotional skills

Calendar, reminder and alerting tools

  • Generates alerts or reminders to log data
  • Generates reminders to do age-appropriate sensory activities
  • Provides daily motivational or inspirational notes
  • Provides reminders and alerts about SPARK to-do items and events, such as webinars
  • Provides reminders about everyday living activities, such as brushing teeth twice a day, taking showers, coming hair, shaving, etc.
  • Provides a way to visually represent calendar events and a daily schedule
  • Provides a virtual assistant that can interact with an autistic individual in a user-friendly way–for example, to remind to put a belt on before going to work, or other similar reminders throughout the day
  • Provides a way to track clinical appointments

Knowledge base, guides, educational, tips and solutions tools

  • Provides a guide to nearby events (for example, entertainment, educational)
  • Provides useful tips and hints to handle particular problem situations
  • Is a source of solutions to problems, such as “my son is autistic and when he _______, I try this ________”
  • Provides information about transition to adulthood and college connections
  • Provides links to local resources for an adult with autism
  • Provides information about local community activities that might be of interested to adults with autism
  • Provides a resource to quickly look up drug information, behaviors, triggers and sensory reactions
  • Provides a community blogging service that provides useful information on treatment and support
  • Provides a visual, educational tool to help with the concept of time, particularly the meaning of elapsed time
  • Provide a list of local care providers
  • Provides an educational tool to help with language development
  • Provides reading comprehension and phonics exercises for high functioning children with autism
  • Provides a resource of educational best practices
  • Provides a list of local activities, such as walks and play-dates with peers
  • Gives quick access to video modeling tools or training videos for both autistic child and parents
  • Educational or instructional videos relevant to autism
  • Provides a list of autism friendly businesses or providers
  • Provides coping mechanisms which would help with pattern interruption and overload or meltdown situations
  • Provides a resource of information about autism that is organized in a visually appealing way
  • Provides summaries of the results of autism studies in the US and worldwide, advances in autism research treatments and new therapies, and locations for latest clinical trials
  • Provides information on how to counteract specific behaviors and problems, such as appropriate behavioral interventions for parents, peers, teachers and/or other community members for an individual/student experiencing a meltdown
  • Provides a way to rate, and view ratings on, doctors, caregivers, service providers, who work well, with or specialize in autistic children organized by city and age of autistic individual–that is, for both children and adults
  • Provides customizable mindfulness, relaxation and breathing exercises
  • Provides a listing of local programs that work with individuals with autism in the areas of diagnosis, early intervention and treatment, K-12 schools, transition programming and employment assistance for young adults, nonprofits with programs just for young adults, social programs for young adults, and housing
  • Provides ideas on how to increase food variety and intake for picky eaters
  • Provides suggestions on how to de-escalate problem behaviors

Notebook, logging and daily diary tools

  • Stores short notes
  • Keeps log of medications, including date started and dosage, as well as any dates dosages were changed, and reminders to update health care providers about progress
  • Allows multiple users (e.g. after school care providers) to log assessments
  • Logging food patterns, new food attempts, likes and dislikes
  • Allows teachers, aides/paraprofessionals and providers to easily update parents about what important things, such as good and bad behaviors, occurred that day
  • Allows parents to record approaches that work
  • Maps a Community Support Plan and Health and Safety Plan to a checklist of actionable items needed to accomplish goals and objectives
  • Provides a place to store, update and access medical records, evaluations, list of surgeries
  • Provides a place to store and access important documents such as IEP and growth records
  • Provides the ability to store a daily routine
  • Logs foods that are not eaten due to sensory issues
  • Provides ability to easily share specific behavioral treatment plans from therapists with parents for each target behavior with ability to capture and share data for interventions

Networking and communication tools

  • Allows adolescents to log their own emotions and feelings privately to share with caregivers
  • Finds and connects groups of parents of children with autism and adults with autism with similar issues
  • Allows an autistic individuals to send messages to others without having to spell words, such as with simple symbols, images or pictographs
  • Allows an adult with autism to connect to other adults with autism
  • Helps an autistic individual express themselves if speaking is difficult
  • Allows an adult with autism to create a profile to connect with other adults with a similar profile, for example interests, zodiac sign, etc.
  • Allows an autistic individual or parent to create social stories on the fly
  • Provides the ability to compile information from several educators and caregivers people in one place to facilitate information sharing

Technical aspects of tools

  • Include the ability to easily print logs, event tracking, charts and graphs
  • Tools should interact well with other apps
  • Web app versions for those without a smart phone
  • Tracking and logging tools should be built to capture still images and video clips