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HACKING AUTISM

GOODBY SILVERSTEIN & PARTNERS, San Francisco / HEWLET-PACKARD / 2012

Awards:

Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Film
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Overview

Credits

Overview

CampaignDescription

Autism has reached epidemic proportions. In the 1970s, 1 in 10,000 kids was born with autism. Today, the statistic is 1 in 88. This number means that more children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with HIV-AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined. Those with autism remain trapped in their bodies with no way of communicating.We learned that touch technology had the potential to open up a new world of communication, learning and social possibilities for those with autism.

Such was the case with Jordan Ewell, a boy that sat silent for 12 years. Then suddenly, with the help of touch technology, he said “I love you” to his mother for the first time.

We encouraged our client, HP, to develop and support an independent organization called Hacking Autism with the goal of demonstrating technology’s role in helping give voice to the voiceless.

Effectiveness

•7 different apps are in production and are planned for global release throughout 2012. They are all free, all open source and all designed to work on any platform or device.• Hacking Autism has been picked up by the world’s largest autism organization, Autism Speaks.

•Hacking Autism will be Autism Speaks’ largest initiative to date.

•HP continues to be the lead corporate sponsor of the Hacking Autism project.•The autism community submitted thousands of software ideas for consideration in the Hacking Autism Hackathon.•Awareness of touch technology in the autism community has sky-rocketed.

Implementation

We needed to make the autism community aware of this amazing breakthrough. We started by giving 20 touch-screen computers to 20 families with autistic children, then we tracked their progress. We documented it all in the film I Want to Say to raise awareness.It soon became clear to us that as touch-based hardware began to proliferate, the real area of need would be around developing better and more relevant software/apps for children with autism.

We created a grassroots campaign that actively engaged our audience by crowd-sourcing their ideas for apps. We gathered these ideas and created a technology summit we called the Hackathon. It was a 2-day symposium that brought together autism experts and programmers/coders so they could teach and learn from one another in order to make software/apps.

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