When it comes to understanding appropriate touch, people with a developmental disability may need individualized learning.
But a new app is making it easier to learn.
Five-year-old Elaina Johnson was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.
“Sometimes very shy, but sometimes very lovey and will just run up to anybody and hug them. Somebody you know she may meet for 5 seconds, and thinks that somebody if they were nice to her and they smiled, or maybe gave her something and so she thinks oh that’s a safe person, where in reality it isn’t,” Denise Johnson, Elaina’s mother, said.
Appropriate touch is one area Johnson says her daughter could benefit from learning more about.
“As a parent, everyone’s worst nightmare is sexual assault, physical assault, whatnot… anyway, it is higher amongst children who do have disabilities because they are that much more vulnerable,” Johnson said.
Thanks to a new app called LAT, which stands for learning appropriate touch, the concept is now easier.
“The app is meant for children, whether or not they have a developmental disability, and then anyone of any age that has a developmental disability who struggles with the concept of appropriate touch or who has those social deficits,” Ali Saban said.
After working with people with disabilities Saban wanted to help them better understand appropriate touch.
“They may not understand or register that it’s not appropriate to touch someone in a particular way or that they shouldn’t be touched in particular ways,” Saban said.
She and her husband worked together to create LAT in hopes of decreasing the statistics of physical and sexual abuse.
“You just don’t know who could harm our children, and so this, hopefully helps her learn that it’s not ok, to stop, no, tell others,” Johnson said.
LAT allows users to progress in their learning, incorporating a colorful touch activity, using a front-only body model.
In just a few weeks of the app being available, positive and constructive feedback has already been pouring in.
Some users are hoping for a backside model as well.
“That’s something that once we have enough investments within the app and we see a lot of buy in from people and we see a lot of downloads or success stories we’re willing to move forward and have updates on the app,” Saban said.
Saban says profits from the app will go towards upgrade and creation fees.
The app is currently available free for users and available on the Apple Appstore.
For more information about the app, click here.