A Curtin University PhD student has designed an app for people on the autism spectrum to feel more independent while navigating through public transport.
According to the Australian Bureau of statistics, about 1 in 50 people are affected by Autism spectrum disorders.
Our world is difficult to navigate for people on the Autism spectrum and app designer Mortaza Rezae hopes the app will make public transport less stressful.
Curtin Autism research group spokesperson Marita Falmer said public transportation was accessible and considered an independent form of transport. But, for people on the spectrum, it was an obstacle of stress, anxiety, unpredictability and sensory overload.
“Public transport demands planning, organising and many individuals on the spectrum have difficulty planning as well as organising,” Ms Falmer said
“This app will help people with any stress and anxiety attacks they may feel while on the public transport.”
The app includes features for managing stress and anxiety, along with sensory overload tips for individuals. Called ‘OrienTrip’, the app lets users find less crowded train and bus services before travelling.
Mr Rezae said users were also able to share their location with caregivers by using the app.
“One of the powerful functionalities of the app is that users can share their exact geo-location with a caregiver to ensure they are never lost,” he said.
He said a trial held last year had proved successful, but improvements were still being made.
“Most individuals on the autism spectrum have never considered using public transport independently and this trial caused them to re-evaluate this decision,” he said
“We learned a lot from our trial last year, which allowed us to improve and enhance OrienTrip further. A second trial with more participating is currently being conducting.”
The app is funded by the Autism Research Centre in Western Australia.