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Student’s ADHD App Concept Wins ADI’s STEM Accessible Design Contest

Amy Chodos with her $1,000 grand prize, a gift from the Avraham and Esther Klein Young Entrepreneurs Fund. (Credit: ADI)

 

(Courtesy of ADI) In its fourth year, ADI’s ‘Make the Change Challenge’ STEM accessible design contest drew more than 250 outstanding entries from students across North America.Vancouver native Amy Chodos secured the contest’s $1,000 grand prize by envisioning an astoundingly simple application that can make the world a more accessible place for people struggling with ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Run by ADI (adi-israel.org), Israel’s network of specialized rehabilitative care for those touched by and living with disability, the contest marks Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (#JDAIM) in February. It promotes “selfless STEM” and encourages students to hack the modern world to help people with disabilities overcome the challenges that hinder their independence and inclusion.

Chodos, an inquisitive and wildly inventive fourth grade student from Vancouver Talmud Torah in British Columbia, Canada, drew from her own challenges in the classroom to conceive the ‘Step-O-Matic,’ an app that utilizes artificial intelligence to record complex spoken instructions and then break them down into easy to follow checklists that can guide students through an entire process.

“As someone with ADHD, I find that starting tasks is often overwhelming, and I need help to understand where to begin. My mother also teaches children with hearing loss, and I realized that an app like this could also help her students in the classroom,” explained Chodos. “I wanted to create something that could help a lot of people by making listening and understanding easier in class and making learning more fun and enjoyable.”

‘Step-O-Maker,’ the winning entry for ADI’s fourth annual Make the Change Challenge STEM accessible design contest.

Instead of developing prototypes, contest entrants were asked to prepare compelling presentations that clearly explain how the original solutions they are envisioning would solve the persistent accessibility issues they choose to tackle. Chodos prepared an impressive Powerpoint presentation that clearly explained her challenges and brought her inspired solution to life.

“Year after year, our ‘ADI Bechinuch’ (literally ‘ADI in Education’) disability inclusion programming spotlights the inaccessibility of our world and our communal responsibility to make a change. From November through February, students from our partner schools across North America become true agents of change while researching and developing original accessible design ideas in order to participate in our STEM contest, and the results are always awe-inspiring,” said Elie Klein, ADI’s Director of Development for the US and Canada.

“We are so impressed by Amy’s poise and creativity, and the brilliant simplicity of her idea. But it’s clear to me that this exceptional young inventor always saw beyond the contest. At just nine years old, Amy is on a mission; she genuinely wants to see this app developed so it can start to help people. This kind of leadership is what ADI Bechinuch is all about.”

More than 40 Jewish schools across North Americaincluding many affiliated with JNF-USAutilized the ‘ADI Bechinuch’ programing this year, employing the in-class activities, virtual tours and STEM contest to encourage the next generation of Jewish leaders to see the world through the eyes of others.

On Sunday, February 25, ADI’s panel of experts, including members of ADI’s professional staff, innovation journalists, and specialists in the field of accessible design, met with the contest’s top five finalists and their parents and teachers via zoom to discuss the entries in greater detail. Following an uplifting discussion, the proceedings concluded with Amy Chodos being crowned the contest winner and presented with the $1,000 grand prize, a gift from the Avraham and Esther Klein Young Entrepreneurs Fund.

The ‘Final 5’ also included entries from students at the Posnack School in Davie, FL; the Brauser Maimonides School in Hollywood, FL; the Ramaz School in New York, NY; and the Bornblum Jewish Community School in Memphis, TN.

ADI provides its residents and special education students with the individualized growth plans and specialized services they need to grow and thrive. Its rehabilitation gives patients the treatments and therapies they need to heal and return to their lives, and provides the community at large with tangible opportunities for encountering disability, raising awareness and promoting acceptance.


To learn more about ADI and to donate, please visit adi-israel.org.

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