Researchers at Clemson University Develop App for People With Disabilities

Zacharey Buchanan is an alumnus of a program at Clemson University designed for people with intellectual disabilities. He is using a smartphone app developed at the school that helps people with disabilities get through day-to-day tasks. Photo Courtesy of Ken Scar, Clemson

Researchers at Clemson University developed an app called Task Analysis Life that allows parents, work supervisors, and teachers to input lists of instructions complete with images and text reminders. Researchers have found that it does help those with intellectual disabilities complete their assigned tasks and with little to no help.

The ClemsonLIFE Task Analysis app aids individuals in the completion of everyday tasks for home and work, while the ClemsonLIFE Meal Planner app helps users develop a weekly meal plan, manage inventory in a pantry and populate a grocery list that ensures they buy required food items each week.

Developed in collaboration between The College of Education’s ClemsonLIFE program and the College of Engineering Computing and Applied Sciences’ School of Computing, the Task Analysis App has been designed for students with intellectual disabilities, such as down syndrome and neurodiversity disorders. The app provides these students who have the desire for a normal life, and to pursue a post secondary experience, with a chance of having success.

Since the tasks that need to be accomplish will vary according to each individual student’s needs, the app does not come preloaded with the step-by-step instructions. A parent, guardian, or even a work supervisor, can upload audio, video, and photos for each step of the task. All of this is saved on the individual’s smartphone for easy access. The app can also easily pinpoint a student’s location called geo-fencing. Geo-Fencing allows the app to limit the type and number of tasks that the user will see based on that location. For example, if a student is at their job, they will only see tasks that pertain to their job. If the student is at home, they will only see tasks that they need to perform at home. By organizing it this way, it keeps the app from becoming confusing for a person with intellectual disabilities.

Zachary is a student who is in his fourth year in the ClemsonLIFE program. He participated in the trial run of the task analysis app. The app helps him to do laundry and other chores at home, on the job, and at a grocery store. This app has helped him reduce his reliance on family members to complete these tasks.

Zachary Buchanan using task analysis app developed by Clemson University students and faculty to do laundry

About The ClemsonLIFE program

Joe Ryan, executive director of the ClemsonLIFE program, said the Task Analysis App is a product of years of work. “At Clemson we don’t want to just focus on inclusivity for these students on a college campus; we want to prioritize getting these students ready for life and work in the outside world,” Ryan said. “These apps are tools we can give anyone with an intellectual disability to help them in a practical way every day of their life.”

The ClemsonLIFE program provides a coordinated study plan that includes career exploration, self-awareness and discovery, job internships, and community participation.

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