Many people talk about the many benefits the world of programming, coding, and app development can have for people with autism. There are a number of success stories, and praiseworthy software and applications created by some extraordinary, smart people with autism.
These stories made us wonder how the process of learning how to code can be optimized for people with autism, guaranteeing them a number of professional possibilities in the near future. How can we teach autistic kids how to code and what are the unique things they can add to the class’ dynamic and environment? That was our main question.
A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to hear Nicolas’ story. As soon as we saw the outstanding apps he created, we reached out to him in order to hear more. We truly believe that real people are those who have the biggest impact on society, and we are sure that Nicolas will inspire many with his unique perspective on coding, society, autism and innovation.
Coding and autism: The opportunity to mix different areas of interest into one unique app
When we talked to Nicolas and his mother Anarina, it was perfectly clear the love Nicolas has both for music and for app development. In every app he creates, he puts in a lot of effort and dedicates time to finding the right music, sound effects, and alerts. Always thinking not only about his own musical taste, but also taking into consideration what the final user of the app will think about that specific feature.
“Looking for the right elements to add in each one of my apps was super fun”, Nicolas said and Anarina, his mother continues: “…it was very important for me to make him think and analyze, together with the TekkieUni staff, who is going to use the app, who it is for, and who do we want as a target audience…”.
Following his mother’s advice, Nicolas created a “Search Engine” app, adding one image for each audience he picked. He added a picture of Michael Jackson, just because he loves his music, an image of Nemo for younger audiences, a princess for girls to feel connected to his app, and even a Mario Bros image to get closer to the gamers out there. “…in a way, this helped Nicolas socialize, to think about what others around him might want, like, or desire …”.
Visual learning: The ideal way for autistic kids to learn how to code
According to Nicolas, it was very easy to follow the steps. The ideas already existed and in order to start, he only had to follow instructions… which wasn’t difficult for him.
The fact that every step of the coding course was visual was extremely helpful for him. Anarina, Nicolas’ mother, explains, “Everything is clear and explained step-by-step. The fact that Nicolas could see the results of his creations immediately was fantastic. This, together with a concrete and organized platform allowed him to feel great during the course and to overcome the challenges he went through in the very beginning.”
The coding motivation: What does Nicolas want to do?
When we talked to Nicolas we immediately realized that we were speaking to an enthusiastic, fun, energetic boy who wants – somehow – to change the world. He told us he wants to create apps that will make others feel good. Every app he creates and will create needs to create that “happy effect” in the eye of the user.
With this goal in mind, Nicolas uses a strict and useful methodology to find happy sounds and elements for his apps, assuring that these elements will deliver a positive vibe to the final user.
Once again, he is able to socialize and to think about others, through coding and creativity.
How Tekkie Uni helped Nicolas use his autism, creativity, and personality to create stunning apps
Anarina and Nicolas are very happy with the results of the course he took at Tekkie Uni. Actually, they want to highlight 4 important points that today enabled Nicolas to think about his next step within the coding world:
- “The class length is just perfect; more than one hour would be way too much”
- “The Mind Master section, where I could share ideas, was phenomenal. It made me go way beyond my original ideas, to think outside the box. This section helped me go deep into creativity. I even read comments from other students regarding my apps, and I shared my thoughts with them to improve their apps.”
- “We live in a digital, technological world,” Anarina says “(…) everything is technology, so it shouldn’t just end in the fun of using it. We should give our children the chance to create within this.”
- “Spending time in front of the screen is now something good. It gives my kid great tools that he will be able to use now, and in the future.”
The superpowers of autistic kids
Part of understanding the reality of an autistic kid is comprehending the good things they have and those parts of their personalities that will allow them to reach success, walking a slightly different path to the one we are currently using.
Understanding this, we would like to continue with Anarina’s words. We couldn’t have said this any better:
“(…) autistic kids have superpowers. Since they don’t always feel that they must explain themselves, they proceed to master the tool or content they have in front of them right away. All of this, without installing the social barriers we all give ourselves in one or another context. They care about learning, and within that learning process magical things happen (…)”
And she continues talking about parenting and education: “(…) many parents try to mold their kids to make them fit into a cruel, connectionless world. The fact that Nicolas is different is simply a blessing (…). The fact that Nicolas is being homeschooled and also learning how to code with Tekkie Uni is a great thing because just like the apps Nicolas is creating it is not about a socializing process, it is about a socializing process that will be good for him, and Tekkie Uni made that happen.”
Thank you, Nicolas!
We want to thank Nicolas and Anarina once again. Getting to meet you was not only heartwarming, but it was also an eye-opening experience into the world of autism. We are sure Nicolas is going to keep changing the world with his authenticity, with his creativity and with his deep desire to create apps that “will make others feel good”. If more people thought like him, this would be a better planet.