The plot thickens

For PPAT,  I am in Team Erica, which is working towards developing a primarily software solution for our client. Our client undergoes certain periods in which she is unable to communicate verbally and, at times, also feel disoriented, for a variable amount of time.

As requested, we are developing an iOS mobile application that will allow her to communicate and even send her location to others according to the severity of the episode. Before our second meeting with our client, we shared mockups of a potential app solution and asked for feedback on its main communication function.

However, towards the end of our meeting, something struck me. We were merely prefacing how the app would also have an “analytics” section which would automatically monitor instances in which Erica would report an episode and after it, allow her to add more data to the event, such as time of day or potential environmental causes. I realized that Erica’s episodes were so variable to the extent that neither she nor her doctors could identify clear causes. As such, it became apparent that our app solution would not just have one main role, which we thought would primarily be facilitating communication, but also in helping Erica ascertain what exactly pushes her to experience a nonverbal episode. For example, our client suspects that her episodes occur more often during specific seasons of the year, but she does not have the data to prove this correlation.

I believe that this was a very valuable meeting with our client since it added dimension to what our assistive technology could accomplish. Rather than solely assisting Erica in her time of disability, it could potentially help discover the root cause of it and even help her avoid these in the first place.

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