By: Clare Bruce
When a child is diagnosed with autism, often their parents aren’t given anywhere near enough guidance on how to move forward.
Many rely on Google or their friends to find out what has worked for others, and are forced to take a hit-and-miss approach to trialling various therapies and support systems.
Now, an Australian company has created an app – “Rockmelon Parent Edition” – designed to put an end to the guesswork, by placing support and information within arm’s reach for families of kids with autism and other developmental delays. And with 1 in 68 children now having an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, it’s never been more needed.
With friendly, cartoon-like graphics and culturally diverse animations, the app offers a wealth of helpful links, resources, and quick-start tools addressing everyday challenges that families with an ASD child experience, such as:
- Checklists for difficult transitions such as starting school
- Tips for developing the child’s speech
- Advice on how to handle trademark ASD behaviours like “rewinding”, colour obsession, and rigidity
- Ideas for navigating difficult moments such as introducing a new food
- Strategies for increasing the child’s flexibility around routines
The app for parents is the first product created by Rockmelon, a newly formed technology company based in Sydney working to make autism-related solutions more accessible for families worldwide.
CEO, Nicole Rogerson, knows all too well the challenge of navigating the maze of support options, because she went through it herself when her own child was diagnosed. She’s also seen many other families lose a lot of time and money trying to find the right support for their child.
“I have watched this go on for 20 years and it’s always been unacceptable to me,” Nicole said. “I have seen the worry and frustration as parents try to navigate their family’s new reality with little to no guidance. Something needed to change. There needed to be a tool, something that centralised everything parents needed to get started, while empowering them with the tools to continue. The answer was a digital platform.”
“[The Rockmelon app] is made by parents, for parents,” Nicole explained. “We are able to reach parents across Australia and around the world. All they need is a mobile device.”
Rockmelon Parent Edition has been developed with the help of an international team of experts. It offers access to a wide range of visual teaching tools and interactive learning modules, and features to help simplify communication between all of the child’s support people.
Rockmelon Parent Edition is available now in the Australian Apple App Store, with an Android version as well as US and UK versions to be launched mid 2019, and other language versions coming out in 2020.
The Rockmelon company is now working on building a software platform to support the 200 million people worldwide who have an intellectual disability.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.
About the Author: Clare is a digital journalist for the Broadcast Industry.