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Lisa Domican

Grace App / Elevator Programme

Awardee 2011

Grace App / Elevator Programme
Krystian Fikert
Lucy Masterson

The Grace App is a picture exchange communication app which was developed to help people with Autism communicate independently. Pictures can be selected and then shared with people. This encourages independent social interaction and speech development.

The Challenge

Currently, many children with autism or speech delay use pictures attached to a board to ask for what they need or say how they feel. These boards are stored in a book which the user carries around with them. This is the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Even if they begin to say a few words, they may be difficult to understand and so they rely on a growing picture vocabulary which over time can become very large and impractical to carry around. Without an effective means of communication, children become frustrated, upset and can become aggressive as their needs are not met. This can make them very difficult to care for, difficult to bring out, difficult to integrate and can lead to social isolation for both the family and the child.

The Idea

Lisa Domican created the Grace App - a digital picture exchange communication app developed with Lisa’s daughter Grace, a little girl with autism who has few words but a lot of pictures. The app helps people like Grace to communicate their needs independently. Grace App replicates the huge and unwieldy picture exchange system by storing a picture vocabulary of things the user needs and likes which can be arranged into a semantic sentence to be read together on an iPhone or similar device. It can be fully customised using the device camera, stored photographs or images saved from the internet, thus continuously and independently increasing their language system.

The Impact

Through the provision of education and innovative communication technologies, Lisa aims to enable anyone with a communication difficulty to express themselves independently, whether they have autism, acquired brain injury or other communication difficulties. Already 14,500 people have downloaded and benefitted from the app, and Lisa plans to extend and enhance it further, providing a low-cost, effective solution to the large numbers of people affected both in Ireland and around the world.

My daughter is speaking more fluidly now and throwing fewer tantrums.

Parent of a child with autism using the Grace App

Lisa Domican, Elevator Award, 2011

Grace App Images Using pictures, GraceApp makes communication possible

Grace App ImagesLisa using the GraceApp with her daughter Grace

ApplesSomebody wants apples!

hotdogJust one of the hundreds of images on the GraceApp


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Company No: 433846, Registered Charity No: CHY 17524, © SEI 2016

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