A Northern boy has created a groundbreaking new app that helps children with non-verbal autism to communicate.
Nine-year-old Sean Porter from Southport was originally asked to create a game for a school project, but he decided to go one step further in a bid to help someone very close to him and build an app for non-verbal children and those with autism to help them communicate.
Sean’s six-year-old brother Adam Porter was diagnosed with autism when he was two.
Since his diagnosis, Adam had always struggled to speak and was unable to ask for some of the simplest requests -but now, using the app developed by his brother Sean, Adam can communicate by just tapping a picture.
Speaking enthusiastically to ITV News about the app, Sean said: “I knew that if I didn’t develop this app, then I don’t know anyone who would think of it.
“It feels absolutely amazing – I feel wonderful.”
“People generally don’t think about other people. They think “if I make this amazing invention I am going to be epic and famous and have loads of money – but they don’t focus on anyone else and how it affects them.”
According to recent studies, it’s estimated that 40% of children with autism are non-verbal, which means that they may never learn to speak more than a few words – but Adam’s father Liam is hoping this app might help change that statistic.
“Him asking for food, telling us he was hurt, asking to go to the toilet, it was basically guess work,” Liam Porter said.
“This app has opened up more choice for Adam after we created the app he has asked for more things and is developing faster.”
Sean also hopes to make his app more user specific for the needs of each child.
His mum Kirsty also told the Liverpool ECHO: “He wants to go more into it and if it does go anywhere he wants to make it user specific for each specific child.
“At the minute it’s just ‘I want a drink’, ‘I want some food’, ‘I need the toilet’ and in order to make it more specific.
“Children with autism have specific drinks they want, you can’t just say to them ‘what drink’ they want that drink they are used to having.”
Time Out said: “Manchester is making a storm right now, with the UK city being crowned one of the world’s very best places to visit by Lonely Planet in 2022.
“It’s not showing any signs of slowing down this year, with the long-awaiting opening of Factory International, a £186 million arts venue which will be the new, permanent home of the biennial Manchester International Festival.
“The 2023 festival (June 29-July 16) will be filled with all sorts of big shows and experiences to get stuck into – including the largest-ever immersive Yayoi Kusama exhibition and a stage adaptation of The Matrix directed by Danny Boyle.”
The £186m new cultural space Factory International is already taking shape in the city, a looming grey structure that will be home to a massive programme of arts and culture.
The acclaimed Danny Boyle will direct the venue’s opening production, a performance inspired by The Matrix films.
5000 tickets for Free Your Mind, which will be presented across the flexible spaces in the building, will be sold for £10 or less, to give everyone in the community a chance to experience the huge site.
Factory International is set to open its doors in June 2023, programmed and operated by the team behind Manchester International Festival.
The enormous 13,350 sq metre space inside utilises supersized moveable walls, which can reconfigure the space for different performances.
Its artistic programming has already begun too, in the form of its first installation First Breath, which has been lighting up the skies with something that locals say looks like an ‘alien invasion’. You can read all about that here.
Featured image: OMA 10
Mason Greenwood attempted rape and assault charges dropped
All criminal charges against Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood have been dropped today.
The 21-year-old faced allegations of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault, all against the same female victim.
The investigation was first opened in January 2022 but has today been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service, Greater Manchester Police has said.
Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, GMP’s Head of Public Protection, said: “Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this.
“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.
“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail.
“I would, however, like to use this opportunity to reiterate GMP’s commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls and supporting those affected, regardless of their circumstances, throughout what can be a hard and upsetting time for them.
“An ever increasing number of officers are receiving specialist training and the force is more consistently utilising tools, available via the criminal justice system, to keep people safe and care for victims.
“If you feel you are or might be a victim, please don’t let this case put you off asking for help.”
GMP also outlined the support that is available:
If you or someone you know has been a victim of rape or sexual assault, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
You can also report information and crimes on our website (www.gmp.police.uk) using the ‘report’ tool.
Alternatively, you can report information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
There are also lots of organisations and support agencies available across Greater Manchester that can help and provide support for you.
For more information on rape and serious sexual assault and the support services available to you, please visit our support pages.
Here are a few examples of the support centres who can help:
St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre – Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.
Greater Manchester Rape Crisis – is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email [email protected]
Survivors Manchester – provides specialist trauma informed support to male victims in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape, or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.