Is There an App For That? Developing an Evaluation Rubric for Apps for Use with Adults with Special Needs
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With the rise of mobile technology, there are now thousands of applications (apps) at our fingertips. Many apps could potentially enhance the lives of adults with special needs, but there lacks an evaluation tool and central repository of apps for this population. A tool that was developed for evaluation of apps by teachers for the classroom was adapted by the researchers for use in this population. The purpose of this study was to find apps that enhance the lives of adults with special needs and validate a tool for evaluation of their usefulness through a pilot study. Selected apps were evaluated using a tool adapted to address such issues as cost, benefits of use, ease of use, alteration, and application to the population. A pilot group of 10 parents, siblings, and caregivers of adults with special needs were recruited for this study. Those recruited reviewed predetermined apps and used the adapted evaluation tool to review the apps. Based on this process, recommendations were made for apps that were useful for adults with special needs and recommendations were made for continued development of the evaluation tool. Findings helped identify applications that adults with special needs can use to enhance their lives and assist families in finding and evaluating applications. An expanded study is being planned based on the results of this study. It is anticipated that this will result in adaptation of the tool and then retesting with a larger participant number. The goal is to publish the tool and the results for these apps as well as others on a public access website so that family and caregivers can use it to evaluate apps that are appropriate for use by their adults with special needs.
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