Saturday, March 24, 2012

David Niemeijer

Autism Light #171 is David Niemeijer.

David Niemeijer is from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is the founder and CEO of AssistiveWare, a company that develops software and apps for mobile devices that meet the needs of disabled people. While the apps developed by his company serve people with a variety of disabilities, they are widely used in the autism community for assisting with communication. David Niemeijer is an Autism Light for operating a business that creates apps that open up the world of communication to people with autism.

David Niemeijer has a PhD in environmental and agricultural sciences from Wageningen UR. David had a friend named Giesbert Nijhuis who broke his neck in a serious car accident in 1995. In order to help his friend access his computer, David developed KeyStrokes, an on-screen keyboard for the Mac so that Giesbert could use a HeadMouse and access keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop that were critical to his work as a graphic designer. Giesbert's work is at his website is at www.laesieworks.comFor more on Giesbert Nijhuis' story see this link.

In order to meet public requests for a wider audience in the disability community to be able to use the original KeyStrokes product, David created a software development business called AssistiveWare in 2000 with the aim to serve the unique needs of people with disabilities. Some of the diagnosis addressed by their software besides autism, include apraxia, speech delay, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, strokes, traumatic brain injury, and ALS.

When mobile devices and the iPad were created AssistiveWare adapted its business to also create products for them. There are two apps from AssistiveWare that may be particularly useful for some in the autism community.
  • Proloquo2Go: A fully functional AAC Device (Augmented and Alternative Communication Device) app first released in 2009.
  • Pictello: An app first released in 2010 that helps create social stories, tasks, and schedules. 
A complete list of other products is available at AssistiveWare's product page.

The following video is David Niemeijer talking to Autism Hangout about the Proloquo2Go app and his work at AssistiveWare. David Niemeijer also conducted a second interview with Autism Hangout primarily on the Pictello app that can be viewed at this link.

David Niemeijer said this as an explanation as to why the iPad is such a popular device for the autism community to use for communication.
Proloquo2Go has been widely used in the autism community - just over half of our users are on the autism spectrum. Part of this success is based on he fact that the iPod and iPad are "cool" devices - they're mainstream, lightweight, and don't stigmatize the person who uses them as being different, as some dedicated AAC devices may do. They also offer access to many educational and leisure apps that are simple and intuitive to use, and can be highly motivating to people with autism. 
The following is a video where a boy named Nick who has autism benefited from being able to use Proloquo2Go on his iPad. AssistiveWare has a video project page on their website, where one can find other videos that show case studies of people using their apps.

Social Media: There are a variety of pages on social media that one can interact with AssistiveWare and David Niemeijer's work there.
The best way to learn more about AssistiveWare is at their website at For other information on David Niemeijer you can read an interview that the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism blog had with him in March, 2012.

Thank you to David Niemeijer for being an Autism Light. It is a great help to the autism community to know that AssistiveWare is able to adapt to the changing technology and provide resources for our loved ones with autism to communicate and adapt to their world. We wish David Niemeijer and the AssistiveWare team the best in their work in the future.

If you liked this post you may want to read other posts at Autism Light with the label iPad.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photos: The photos in this post were used with permission of AssistiveWare.

Disclaimer from AssistiveWare: Note that the video above of Nick presents an unscripted case study and any statements made in the video pertain to this particular case and are not intended as a comprehensive product evaluation or recommendation. Different people have different needs and it is always recommended to get an AAC evaluation from an expert.

No comments:

Post a Comment