ITB students plan to develop app for dyslexic

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds


THE group of students who developed an app for autistic individuals are now setting their sights on helping those who suffer from reading difficulties.

Developers of mobile e-learning app AutiSay plan to collaborate with the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Unit to produce an app for dyslexic individuals.

Following the success of their first app with over 13,000 downloads, the students from Institut Teknologi Brunei said their next project was to create another app but they have yet to approach the ministry and discuss their plans.

In a 2009 report, there were about 400 dyslexic students in Brunei.

The Autisay developers had introduced an app that allows parents and guardians to upload photos to meet the needs of those with autism. One year later, the app was featured at ITB’s recently opened gallery.

Seeing the app’s progress, one of the four AutiSay creators, Dk Siti Nur Bazilah Pg Zulkifli, said it has inspired them to come up with their own startup and carry on helping those with special needs once they graduated.

“We started our ITB project in search for an educational app and found educating autistic children proved challenging – so our goal for this app was to help them learn,” she said in an interview.

“We didn’t expect the app to garner such a response including the 13,000 plus users and Merit Award won from the Asia-Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) last year.”

The 25-year-old added that the figures were calculated based on the number of users who downloaded the free beta version since last year.

The creators have also recently launched another version for Apple devices on the App Store.

Fellow app developer Halina Jumaat said if another app was introduced, they aimed make it simple to use.

“In our research, we found that the gridlock for autistic children was not the learning part but in fact the communication,” the Internet Computing student said.

“They were more visual learners – thus parents can communicate via pictures.”

She explained that with AutiSay, parents can figure out what the autistic children wanted by showing them a gallery of pictures and with the children pointing their fingers at it.

If what they wanted was not in the gallery, a picture of something new can be taken, saved and uploaded into the gallery.

Dk Siti Nur Bazilah advised her ITB peers and juniors to seek inspiration from the opportunity of having their achievements displayed at ITB’s gallery.

“It’s a shame if your works are just stored where no one can see it. Here your works, the public especially parents, can see what you’ve been doing.”

ITB Finance and e-Business student Abdul Rasyhid Latif hoped to follow in their footsteps.

“You have to remember the developers of AutiSay do not have degrees and yet they’ve thought outside of the box to come up with a useful app,” the 24-year-old said.

The Brunei Times