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Wisconsin women create new app for caregivers of kids with disabilities

New app helps caregivers of people...

MADISON, Wisc. - Deb Thompson couldn't find a tool that would give family members and caregivers adequate information about her son Evan. So she and her friend Laura Berkner, a physician assistant from Belleville, decided to create their own.

Her son Evan, 25, was diagnosed with autism at 2 1/2 years old. One day, she left her younger son, Jaden, in charge of Evan's care for the day.

"So I was going through the list of everything he needs to watch for, and he said, 'Mom, you should have something like this in a notebook because how would I know all of this?'" Thompson said.

Together, Berkner and Thompson, who lives in Madison, launched Stimmi, a website and app that allows parents and guardians to create profiles about their children with disabilities.

"Everything about him: his behaviors, his triggers, how to de-escalate a behavior, how to understand what he's saying," Thompson said. "I wanted everything right there on your phone because you have it 24/7."

The profiles can hold all kinds of information, including allergies, triggers, behaviors, safety concerns and emergency contacts. It also allows parents to upload videos to help with their children's care.

The website and app launched earlier this month, but Thompson and Berkner have been working on development for more than a year now. They're offering free trials of the app and website currently, but it will eventually cost $15 a month.

The website's unique name was actually inspired by Evan, who was originally diagnosed with autism on a military base in Germany.

"In German, 'stimme' means 'voice,' and up until right before he was diagnosed, he was talking and he lost his voice, so we just thought that was kind of a cool name," Thompson said.


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