Apple restores app function after lobbying by Glenwood woman
After years of trying to convince tech giant Apple Inc. to allow an update that would restore “life-changing” functionality to a 99-cent app, Alice and Kara Brouhard of Glenwood Springs spread the word far beyond its original reach, gained allies and accomplished their goal in a few short months.
Alice’s 34-year-old daughter, Kara, who suffered a traumatic brain injury at age 5, had been using the reminder app, AIDA, on her iPad for more than three years. In its original version, which worked with iOS 5, AIDA would run in the background and announce reminders recorded in Kara’s voice without requiring interaction.
In later iOS versions, though, a person using a different app could get a notification but would have to open AIDA to read or hear the reminders. That additional step made the process too difficult for Kara and others with developmental or injury-related cognitive and memory disabilities.
Because of the change, Alice tried to persuade Apple to allow AIDA’s developer, Sergio Licea, to “change a few lines of code” to restore the lost feature. Although Kara continued to use AIDA in iOS 5, Alice knew Apple would eventually stop supporting the older operating system and also recognized the app’s potential to help many more people, including wounded military veterans, with memory and time management challenges, be more independent.
Alice started a petition on change.org and contacted the Post Independent about her mission earlier this year. Although Apple declined to comment for our April 2015 story, support grew, and in May, Alice had a detailed conversation with an Apple Accessibility representative.
In July, Apple informed Alice that the company would restore the original AIDA function with its release of iOS 9. On Sept. 22, just a week after the new OS became available, the updated AIDA app arrived in the App Store featuring a “thanks to Alice and Kara.”
Alice and Kara Brouhard proved that persistence and allies can make the big guy listen to the little guy. And they are excited about spreading the word about AIDA to others with cognitive disabilities.
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