Imagine learning that your child has an intellectual disability. You might immediately wonder if they will ever be able to live independently, have friends, or fall in love, all the things that we take for granted. With over six million adults in the United States living with an intellectual disability, parents and guardians struggle with those thoughts every day.
Until the age of 18, there is support from the state, county, and federal government. The problem is at adulthood, defined as between the ages of 18 and 21, there is what is called in the industry, the cliff. Abruptly, there is little to no support, and if your child hasn’t gotten the skills to live independently then the majority of these adults spend their lives living with their parents or guardians.
Enter the program called IPSE, inclusive post-secondary education that works to support individuals as they go through college. Airships VP of Global Strategy, Trent Kocurek, came across such a program at Auburn University when his wife, Terri, pointed out that a young man from Cullman, Trent’s hometown, had been selected to participate. Trent was intrigued.
Trent met with the program director and started asking questions and discovered that while they were trying to support these individuals everything was done manually. So, while these college students who have never been away from home are striving to learn to live and work independently, the people working to support them are consumed with paperwork, leaving little to no time actually to work with and help these students.
Trent along with a team from Auburn and Airship crafted a solution to help the students involved with the IPSE program at Auburn called the "Auburn Eagles" keep track of their day. The solution, Equip, helps them learn time management skills, receive feedback and reminders and gives access to important information to those that support them.
For instance, many of these students have medical plans for emergency situations such as seizures. Equip can house medical plans, medication, and other information in the application. It can remind the students to take the medication in a certain order and at certain times and it can show parents and caregivers that the students have done so.
Additionally, tasks, to-do's, and such can be added into Equip and as the student checks their specific tasks off, it updates in the app for parents and caregivers to follow along. No more complicated excel spreadsheets that have to be updated daily. Now, a simple glance in the app can show the educators who has done what.
For the individual, there are calendars and to-do's and information for them to review. Equip helps with routines and reminders, allowing these adults to live life more independently while giving parents and caregivers the insights to ensure they are taking care of themselves.
Now that the product has launched, there are additional ideas to expand and enhance Equip to continue to offer ways to support intellectually disabled adults.
In the works, creating a community for parents that connects them with other parents, resources, and experts. Networking and gathering resources for everyone to share.
And, a way to help these adults as they navigate the world. One future item is the ability to have something to show law enforcement or medical personnel that explains they have a disability and may need additional information or may be scared and need to have someone called on their behalf.
The possibilities are endless and exciting!
The team here at Airship is thrilled to have had the chance to work on a product that does so much to help others in the world. Our vision is to create transformational change through remarkable experiences and we believe bringing Equip into existence exemplifies just that.
To learn more about Equip visit www.equipnx.com.