For those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, panic attacks or meltdowns, can be an all-too-common occurrence. The ability for someone on the spectrum to communicate whilst suffering from this type of sensory overload is often incredibly hard and frustrating for both the sufferer and those trying to help.
People often have different ways of responding to and dealing with stress. From loss of speech and inability to move, to uncontrollable meltdowns, these attacks rarely occur in a place where people know how to help.
Now, one man has created an app that can change the way people respond to panic attacks and other public breakdowns.
Jeroen De Busser has created the “Emergency Chat” app, to be used when verbal communication is realistically not an option.
Jeroen, a computer science student who has ASD, created the app after a particular incident occurred where his friends tried to help but only made the situation worse.
The app delivers personalised instructions on how to assist an individual in a time of crisis, instead of trying to rely on verbal communication.
The user is then able to hand their phone to those trying to help, with instructions that allow friends or passers by to understand what is going on.
“It has a base text that explains to the person you gave your phone to that you can’t use speech and want to use this app to communicate. Both the title and text can be adjusted in the settings to be whatever you want the person you give your phone to to know.” said Jeroen.
The app then provides a channel through which a conversation can take place via text.
The default screen is set for people with ASD but can be customised for any issue that may arise.
What this app does is ensure that sufferers have control over their surroundings. That despite what is happening to them, they are safe in the knowledge that they are able to ask for help, and receive the appropriate care.