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Meet TUTOR-DIS, creating life changing apps

25 February, 2014 in members, news, The Impactory

Our in-house journalist Katie Nail is following some of all the exciting companies at the Impactory. Meet TUTOR-DIS.

One of the many challenges people with intellectual disabilities faces is entering the workforce. While some companies offer integration programs, researchers at the Asociación Feaps Para El Empleo (AFEM) and the Instituto De Biomecánica De Valencia (IBV) found that the intellectually disabled struggle with aspects of daily life at work that make it difficult to retain their position.

“We discovered that most of the difficulties that these people have in working environments are related with memory, time management, communication, orientation and autonomy,” said Alberto Ferreras, a researcher for the IBV.
Since 2006 the AFEM and IBV have been coordinating projects and conducting research on how to improve the adaptation of intellectually disabled people into work environments and enhance their employability.

They had hoped to help individuals entering the workplace through technology but found that existing software systems were not designed for people with special needs. So the AFEM and IBV decided they would have to create the technology, and as a result the idea for Tutor-Dis was born.

“The purpose of TUTOR-DIS is to facilitate the improvement of learning, time management, communication, and in short, the autonomy of people with intellectual disabilities,” said Ferreras.

They created an app for Android phones designed specifically for people with intellectual disabilities. The app is a series of instructions, reminders, checklists, and questionnaires all focused on helping the individual during their workday. Creating the App allowed the two teams to address the general areas of difficulty specific to the intellectually disabled. The TUTOR-DIS app is also flexible enough to give the individual user the ability to tailor the program to his or her specific needs.

The program launched in 2012 and already more than 100 companies and individuals are using Tutor-Dis. It has also created a demand within other disabled communities for similar software.

Because the app has been so well received, both the AFEM and IBV would like to continue developing the software, offer technical support for its users, and find ways of spreading the project to a more users. However, like many apps, generating income to expand the project has been challenging. In 2013, after participating in a EIB Social Innovation Competition and winning mentoring services, Tutor-Dis began working with The Impactory.

2014-01-28 16.00.19“Two essential aspects for [Tutor-Dis] are how to develop a viable business model and how to ensure that the idea reaches all the potential beneficiaries,” said Ferreras. “The Impactory is giving support [on] these topics.”

Thanks to the award from the EIB, the Tutor-Dis team members have visited Luxembourg to receive business coaching from Hedda Pahlson-Moller, co-founder of the Impactory and Business Angel/Impact Investor (OMSINT). They have begun to work on a strategic vision and business model for sustainable growth. She has also visited them in Valencia, Spain.

“The Impactory is delighted to support such an innovative team merging social integration and impact measures…and look forward to developing the partnership with IBV to foster further cross-collaboration and support of social impact focused businesses,” Pahlson-Moller said.

Hopefully through their relationship with The Impactory, Tutor-Dis will have the opportunity to develop its model far beyond Spain’s borders and help users with a variety of tasks and languages.

For more information on Tutor-Dis visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TutorDis

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