Our team has extensive experience working with children with special needs, especially those on the autism spectrum. Often, the biggest barrier to being an effective teacher or caregiver is lack of information about the particular child, since each child's needs are highly specific and unique. For example, when new caregivers take over, the child transfers facilities, or current caregivers are not able to come in for a day, communication is vital to ensuring quality care for their specific needs. This information is currently passed on by word-of-mouth (however, it is not always possible to talk with the parents or previous caregiver) or through a physical note (which can be easily misplaced or missing important information).
Thus, we created an application to solve these problems, and named it after the Dianthus flower: a beautiful flower that sometimes needs a bit of extra care to grow and thrive.
What it does
DianthUS allows parents and teachers/caregivers to create accounts, through which they can create and manage student profiles. Each student profile includes a child's tendencies, needs, abilities, triggers, and other relevant information that the child may not be able to tell an adult verbally. This information includes a historical logbook where parents and caregivers can record the child’s progress, milestones or any incidents. The application also allows for messaging between parents and teachers, allowing for instant communication.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
We started off trying to build a React app with a Node js server, but realized a few hours later that it would be more efficient with a FireBase API. As a result, the first few hours were spent on React and Node tutorials that did not end up being relevant to our final product.
We also had issues with the sign-up function, setting up the login-ui was easier as Firebase has a beginner friendly user tutorial. However, the sign-up of new users has to be done on the backend.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Successful implementation of a FireBase API for login features and profile creation; Started implementing data storage and retrieval using the FireBase API
What we learned
Combining front-end with back-end and fully completing a web app; When it’s ok to switch ideas (when on thing is clearly not working); How to incorporate Firebase and date/user management into a program
What's next for DianthUS
Implementing chatbot APIs to facilitate communication between users; Increased security features for potentially sensitive data; Make more accessible by porting to mobile (especially IOS and android); In the future, we hope dianthUS or a similar software will be used across school districts to reduce miscommunication and increase specialized care for children in the autism spectrum and with special needs.
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