Research

Keep up with our activities:



Facebook link
Twitter link
 Funded by the United States Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

Transition on Track: Development of an App to Help Parents and Youth Focus on Employment

Purpose

The purpose of this project is to create an app for parents of youth who are blind or visually impaired (B/VI) or deaf-blind (DB) and youth who are B/VI that will guide them through steps to help youth prepare for employment. The app will provide a checklist of age-appropriate activities that can aid youth during the transition process.

Research Questions

  1. How do end users prefer to interact with the app (e.g., number of notifications, frequency of reminders)?
  2. What suggestions do end users have about content and functionality of the app?
  3. Can the app interface be learned quickly without instruction?
  4. Can an end user perform the basic functions of the app without errors?
  5. Is the app fully accessible for B/VI users?
  6. Do end users enjoy using the app and desire to keep using it?
  7. Do parents and youth find the app beneficial to the transition process?
  8. Could the app raise the expectations of parents who initially had low expectations for their child with B/VI or DB?

Study Summary

For many youth who are B/VI or DB, the transition from school to career can be challenging. Parents can play a significant role in their child’s success by supporting and encouraging preparation for the school-to-career transition. This project involves the development of an app to help parents of youth who are B/VI or DB, ages 4 to 24, and youth who are B/VI, focus on steps to prepare for employment.

The app framework will be developed by AFB Tech to be compatible with iOS, Android, and web platforms. Two distinct versions of the app are being developed: one for youth with B/VI and their parents and one for parents of youth who are DB with multiple impairments. The app will provide a personalized experience based on the user’s profile information, such as the role of the user (parent or youth); disability of youth (B/VI or DB); age of youth; academic progress in school; and future college and career goals. The profile will control the automated dissemination of information and active (“push”) notifications to each user. App users will receive suggested activities, information and resources, reminders to complete activities, and a checklist to track their progress.

NRTC staff, working in conjunction with a team of external experts, will develop content for the app. Following content development, advisory boards of four experts for each of the populations (B/VI and DB) will assist with content validation. These experts will independently evaluate the content. Input will also be gathered from the three target end user populations through focus groups, usability testing, and a field test of the app. End user input will be utilized to improve the app prior to its public release, which is set for 2020.

Expected Outcomes and Benefits

This project will lead to the creation of a new app that will provide valuable transition resources to parents of youth with B/VI and DB and youth with B/VI, with the goal of helping youth successfully achieve employment.

Principal Investigator

Karla Antonelli, kantonelli@colled.msstate.edu