Finalist category: Community Impact Award
Community Impact Award, Finalist, 2017
Easy to use apps for children with special educational needs
A mum who couldn’t find educational apps for her son has gone on to build inspirational tech social enterprise which is inspiring others.
Special iApps was started in 2011 when Beverly Dean couldn’t find any educational apps that suited the needs of her youngest son, who has downs syndrome. The apps on the market were just too distracting and complex for him.
She worked on creating a series of clean, clear and simple apps for children with special educational needs. Since then the enterprise, which she runs with her husband, has gone international. She’s worked with over 50 volunteers to translate content into 20 languages.
Beverly was nominated by a member of her small team, who thinks her approach to technology, business and life make her very special.
“The fact she and Colin have built Special iApps from scratch while also beings parents to a son with Down syndrome, is a clear message about believing in entrepreneurial and business dreams,” said Lauren Dodd, Special iApps.
“Bev consistently provides an understanding, flexible and nurturing work environment where our small team is always encouraged to grow and bring forward new ideas.
“She’s also worked closely with local universities to establish work placement opportunities, for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Bev liaises with lecturers and professionals to organise internships and research projects for students to expand their working knowledge.”
“Many people working with us have gone on to find employment in digital, marketing and business industries, as well as achieving above and beyond their predicted grades.”
The technology they create helps children learn at their own pace, its designed to build their confidence and independence. Their flagship apps ‘Special Stories’ and ‘Special Words’ focus on, not only developing skills for literacy and vocabulary, but they also allow children to build their fine motor skills and short-term memory.
Beverly is her son’s main care which she juggles alongside running Special iApps. But it doesn’t stop there, she volunteers as a school governor and on different parent forums and support groups, such as Making Changes Together and Down’s Syndrome North East. Her staff see her as a great community role model and a great example of what women can achieve in the digital and tech industries.