As a software developer I get a lot of pleasure when a code that I wrote, all those ifs and methods and classes, turns into a real thing, something on my computer screen, doing what I have summoned it to do.
But I get even more pleasure when I see someone using these things, when I meet someone that tells me how wonderful it is, when I see someone I never met before interacting with it with pleasure, when I see a kid using it so naturally.
And I thought it could not get better than this, but it can.
Christine Chan asked her readers to describe in the comments how would they use Snap if they got the promo code and one guy caught my attention with something I never thought it would be used for:
James F Bagnell Jr MS
March 26, 2011 • 2:55 pm
“I am a behavioral specialist who works with Autistic children. As part of their Social Skills training I’ll use this app to take snap-shots of the items they use and the people they work with to set up a picture schedule that will lay out their daily routine (which always includes reading them the AppAdvice daily app). Since the parents of the children I work with are less fortunate, I try and make use of the resources I have available. Thanks for keeping me updated on new apps like this one! AppAdvice is the best.”
That really moved me. When the giveaway was over I asked Christine if this guy was one of the winners. If not I was gonna give him a promo code anyway. As it happens he was one of the winners and Christine was nice enought to send another email asking James to contact me, which he did the next day. I asked him if it was OK for me to write about it and he said yes.
Of all the uses I imagined for the app, using it to help autistic children was not one of them, so I was curious as to how it was being used to this end. James explain on another email:
“Autistic children learn in differing ways than those without. One of the ways I teach my clients is through the use of Social Scenarios. These are little homemade picture books that use photographs of everyday people, places, and events that Autistic children encounter throughout their day. One example (which I am working on right now) is a social story that lays out the daily schedule of one of my clients in order to help him transition. The first picture shows his alarm clock displaying the time he is to wake up. The next photograph shows his dresser and the heading reads “this is my dresser, I keep my clothes in here to wear. What will I wear today?”. This continues through the daily rituals of the child and helps him to transition better by understanding his expectations.”
I researched a bit and this is called “Social Stories“. According to wikipedia:
Social Stories are a concept devised by Carol Gray in 1991 to improve the social skills of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Social Stories are short stories written or tailored to an autistic individual to help them understand and behave appropriately in social situations. The stories have a specifically defined style and format.
They describe a situation in terms of relevant social cues, the perspective of others, and often suggest an appropriate response. They may also be used to applaud accomplishments; roughly 50% of all Social Stories are targeted to be used for this reason.
So, using Snap I took some pictures around my house and played with it a bit:
These were done using version 1.10 of Snap that’s waiting to be approved by Apple as I write this. Hopefully this new version will make the app even better for people like James. I think James might like the AirPrint capability of this new version. This might allow him to make his social scenarios even easier: just snap a picture, write what you want and send it to an AirPrint compatible printer.
Before Snap I didn’t know about Social Stories and had no idea Snap could be used to help autistic children. So now I’m wondering, what else is Snap being used to? The giveaway gave me a lot of examples that I haven’t thought of and I’m sure there’s a lot more uses for it that will never cross my mind.
And this is what I love doing what I do. The bits and bytes are just the raw material I use to build software that can be used by people in ways that are far beyond my imagination.
So, think you can do something cool with Snap that I haven’t thought of? Leave a comment and you might win a copy of Snap.
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