RIDBC app for deaf children wins accessibility award

RIDBC's multimedia team accept joint first prize in the ‘Most Accessible Children’s App’ category

Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) has been jointly awarded first prize in the Australian Communications Consumer Action network (ACCAN) and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) inaugural Apps for All Challenge, Tuesday 16 September.

RIDBC’s app, Row Row Row Your Boat, was one of three finalists in the ‘Most Accessible Children’s App’ category, sharing first prize at last night’s awards ceremony in Sydney. The awards were designed to raise awareness of the need for apps to be designed with accessibility in mind.

The app was developed by a team of auditory verbal specialists at RIDBC, and is aimed at helping children – including those who have hearing loss – to develop their listening and language skills.  

“Increasingly, mainstream technology is helping to provide access for children with vision or hearing loss. The Row Row Row Your Boat app provides parents with techniques and strategies to assist them in fostering important language skills,” said RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn.  

“In this app a pirate takes the user through two games. The first asks your child to identify which vehicles belong on the land, air or sea and the second game helps to advance early childhood rhyming skills, asking your child to match the sounds of two items.”

Row Row Row Your Boat is one of a series of six apps developed by RIDBC. Based around popular nursery rhymes, the apps offer sing-a-long music and interactive games aimed at reinforcing a child’s listening and language skills. Instructional content also provides parents with techniques and strategies to assist them in fostering these important skills.

“Quality early intervention in the first years of a child’s life is critical as it greatly improves outcomes in language development. With a dedicated family and the right technology, children who have a hearing loss can achieve their full potential,” said Chris.

“The fantastic thing about this this series of apps is that they are suitable for all children - regardless of whether or not they have hearing loss. While children with hearing loss face particular challenges in developing their speech and language, all children require attention in this area so that they can achieve their best in life.”

Telstra provided prizes to the winners with $1500 in cash and a one-off opportunity to participate in a mini-incubator experience with Telstra’s own in-house app developers and technology specialists.

RIDBC is Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and diagnostic services for people with hearing or vision loss, supporting thousands of adults, children and their families, each year.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in children's lives.  In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise approximately $2.5 million every month.