Miriam Reyes
2015, Spain
Helps children with autism to learn through adapted, digital storybooks
Computer Science

One out of every 160 children suffers from a disorder within the spectrum of autism, although recent studies estimate that this number could be even higher, according to international organizations like the World Health Organization and the European Commission. The mere diagnosis of a disorder from the spectrum of autism barely has any impact on their life. Their family, on the other hand, has to learn to cope with this situation and find the most appropriate ways of helping the affected child to live as normally as possible. Part of this adaptation includes the search for alternative methods to achieve that the child absorb life lessons. To this end, the young, Spanish innovator Miriam Reyes has created Aprendices Visuales (Visual Learners), an NGO dedicated to the development of tools to facilitate learning for children with autism.

This graduate of the University of Seville (Spain), abandoned her budding career as an architect in 2012, after working for the prestigious architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron and building the Music and Dance Academy of Burkina Faso in Africa. The life of this young woman from Cadiz gradually shifted after the diagnosis of her cousin José and her growing involvement in his education. Reyes remembers how everything started with her blog, where she shared her learnings about autism and one day she published a story that she had designed in order to help her aunt to potty train José.

That story became the seed from which Aprendices Visuales and its didactic methodology would emerge. Today they offer a score of digital stories and several interactive apps. The young innovator received assistance from psychologists and pedagogical experts from several associations for the families of autistic children in the development of the products created by Aprendices Visuales. Their product portfolio is comprised of stories written in a language of pictograms that allow children to internalize the content and concepts more effectively.