Browser For Kids With Autism

Friday, June 6, 2008

One of the things that has always amazed me about the open source development circles is the astounding number of user-developed apps. Programmers and developers often write new apps when they find apps already available don't do enough or don't behave the way they want them to. It's common to find out that apps are written because programmers and code hackers want more out of the apps they use. They then in turn release them as open source so others can use these apps, help debug them or improve them. Communities are often grown from these roots.

It's refreshing to see though that open source initiatives aren't the only source of good software. Individuals who want to create something for their loved ones or for causes often have the same drive as developers I mentioned, albeit for a different cause. One such piece of software would be the Zac Browser. It was created by a grandfather who wanted to help a grandchild with autism browse the web safely and independently. Assistive technology has always been expensive, and though the communities that support autism cause have grown over the years, that hasn't brought down the cost dramatically. This grandfather has made a great contribution to the cause of children with autism by making his browser free to the public.

The Zac Browser helps autistic kids focus their attention by using a simplified interface. It protects them as well by limiting their exposure to inappropriate content, filtering out any violent of otherwise disturbing content. The sites have been pre-selected by the developer and is updated regularly. The best part of it is that it is free to anyone who would want to try it.

I discovered this little gem while browsing for news about autism. AP featured it in a news article. I posted a video featuring the Zac Browser below:





The Zac Browser can be downloaded as an installer package or a "just run" no-install package. It works with Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME and Windows 98. No word yet if this will be ported to Linux, but I'm hopeful it will be.

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