My Mission

Facilitate human connections for the most challenged in interactions 

Human interactions ARE key in success

At the heart of my art is the aim of facilitating genuine connections

What might seem trivial for many is most challenging for others. Basic interactions have been challenging for me for many years. Expression through art has enabled rich connections with myself and others. 

Through art, I want to give back to others who need support in developing themselves and communicating to provide them with more opportunities and better chances to thrive as individuals.

Helping create apps to assist those with intellectual & developmental disabilities in tasks, learning, and communication is my way of fulfilling this mission.

Academic born project

Originating as a university semester project, LEAPPS emerged from a human-computer interface course, driven by a vision for inclusive technology.

FInanced by art

After exploring different alternatives, I decided to focus my attention on creating more art and using my sales to finance the development of the apps by professionals.

Leverage abilities

LEAPPS focuses on alleviating challenges in gross and fine motor skills, vision, hearing, and communication, enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities.

What I Do

Amoritz Art provides funding to get iOS apps developed by professional developers.

I'm also in direct contact with the users to get the needs for the apps and plan with them all the details; their needs and vision for what the purpose each app will be used for and the problem it will solve, the core features and functionalities to accomplish their vision, the design to align with the purpose and the user experience (UX) aspects, as well as getting their feedback for the iterations throughout the app development process to assure the app will adequately achieve the goal in mind.

I will also coordinate the distribution of the app to every educational and rehabilitation center where the apps can support the users. I will promote the apps to ensure that all those who need such tools can have access to them freely.

I do this for those who are challenged in their interactions by disabilities to bridge the gap between them, their loved ones, and the world around them.

I Donate From Every Order

Every time you buy Amoritz art, you're making a contribution to creating life-changing tools, and getting me closer to my mission to bridge the gap for people with disabilities, enhancing their ability to connect and communicate with the world around them.

Benefit from LEAPPS

Do you have a loved one that you think would benefit from this project? Click below to learn more and apply to receive the LEAPPS life-changing tools to help someone with disabilities who experiences major difficulties to connect and communicate with others.

The LEAPPS Origin

The LEAPPS project started in 2013 as a university project for the human-computer interface course I took back in 2014.
The apps were, meant for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and also to be distributed in educational and rehabilitation centers.
The App my 9-member team and I created, was first for Lea, a 10-year-old girl who lives with a chromosomal handicap. We were guided by her mother and occupational therapist.
My team was the first to make a functional app, but due to a lack of participants, the project did not continue.
Since then, I have always wanted to continue this project. I also kept contact with Lea's mother and the course professor.
After exploring different ways to continue the project, I decided to focus my attention of creating art and funding the project through it.
Every purchase helps build apps assisting those with intellectual & developmental disabilities in tasks, learning, and communication.

The reality of the LEAPPS end users

For children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, life can be a challenging and complex experience.

They face numerous barriers that can impede their development and prevent them from fully participating in society.

Despite these challenges, it's important to remember that children with intellectual and developmental disabilities are capable of leading fulfilling and meaningful lives. With the right support and resources, they can achieve their goals and live up to their full potential. It's up to us as a society to ensure that these children have access to the support and resources they need to succeed.

The Challenges

Social Isolation

One of the most significant challenges that children with intellectual and developmental disabilities face is social isolation. Due to the nature of their disability, they may struggle to form friendships and may not be able to participate in activities that their peers enjoy. This isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, which can further exacerbate their disability.

Educational Challenges

Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities also face numerous educational challenges. They may struggle to understand complex concepts and may require additional support and accommodations to fully participate in the classroom. Many schools are not equipped to meet the unique needs of these children, which can lead to a lack of resources and support.

Healthcare Needs

In addition to social and educational challenges, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities also face significant healthcare needs. They may require frequent medical interventions, therapy, and other forms of support to manage their disability. These needs can be costly and time-consuming, which can create additional stress and burden for families.

Demanding experience

Being a parent of a child with an intellectual and developmental disability can be an incredibly challenging experience. It requires a great deal of patience, understanding, and dedication to provide the care and support that your child needs to thrive. This can be even more challenging when you also have other children in the family and all the other responsibilities of daily life.

Adapting communication methods

Communicating with a child with an intellectual and developmental disability can present unique challenges due to their specific needs and abilities. Some specific challenges for communicating with a child with an intellectual and developmental disability may include:

Limited verbal communication

Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may have difficulty expressing themselves verbally or may have a limited vocabulary, making it challenging to understand their needs or feelings.

Nonverbal communication

Some children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may rely on nonverbal communication, such as gestures or facial expressions, to express themselves. It can be challenging to interpret these cues and understand their meaning.

Difficulty with abstract concepts

Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may have difficulty understanding abstract concepts, such as time or complex emotions. This can make it challenging to communicate about certain topics or to understand their perspectives.

Sensory processing issues

Some children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may have sensory processing issues, which can affect how they interpret and respond to sensory information, such as touch, sound, or light. This can make it challenging to communicate in certain environments or to understand certain cues.

Challenges with social cues

Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may have difficulty interpreting social cues, such as body language or tone of voice. This can make it challenging to understand social interactions or to communicate effectively in social situations.

Executive functioning issues

Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may have difficulty with executive functioning, which can impact their ability to plan, organize, and prioritize their thoughts and actions. This can make it challenging to communicate in a coherent and organized manner.

Different learning styles

Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may have different learning styles, such as visual or hands-on learning, which may require different communication strategies to effectively convey information.

Two case studies

I will introduce you to Lea, a now 20-years old girl who lives with a 1p36 microdeletion, a chromosomal handicap, and to Haysam, a father of a teenage son with autism and who is non-verbal.

Difficulties with gross and fine motor skills

Difficulties with vision

Difficulties with hearing

Difficulties with communication

Lea and her mother Emanuelle

As I mentioned, when the LEAPPS project started 10 years ago, the main user who helped guide which features and settings were needed was Lea, who was 10 years old at the time. Her mother and occupational therapist gave us feedback through the different stages of the development to make sure we were on point and that what we did was really helpful.

It is not possible to communicate verbally with Lea as she does not speak.

Lea lives with a 1p36 microdeletion, which affects all her sensory perceptions, and consequently, affects all her interactions with the world around her.

She, therefore, finds herself having difficulties on several levels: gross and fine motor skills, vision, hearing, and communication.

Technological tools can facilitate Lea’s learning process and help her accomplish certain tasks since the interaction with the electronic tablet is simple and clear. Plus, Lea has a high level of interest in the very sensory-stimulating responses of the device (lights, colours, sounds, and music).

 
This visual and auditory feedback responds to her specific sensory needs and enhances her ability to focus on the task at hand.

For Lea to learn, it is necessary to graduate the steps leading to the achievement of an action or understanding of a concept. The applications available on the market are not always suitable for her, because they are not pedagogically fragmented enough. That is why it is very useful to create applications that can be graduated at each level of difficulty so that Lea can progress at her own pace.

There are times during the day when Lea has free time, during which her loved ones are not able to interact with her because they are sometimes busy with tasks of all kinds (like everyone else!). During these moments, Lea tries to occupy herself which very often causes problems, since she is constantly in search of sensory stimulation.

It is in these periods that the tablet could be used to occupy her constructively while providing her with adequate sensory stimulation if good applications were created. And what’s more, it would allow her loved ones to go about their occupations freely for short periods, which gives them a strongly required respite!

It would be easier in the life of Lea and her family, for whom it is a constant challenge to care for a disabled person on a daily basis, and at the same time to do the normal things in life.

It requires a lot of flexibility and a great support network around us. Then, creative solutions like technologies can be leveraged too, like in the LEAPPS project!

Haysam and his son

I’ll introduce you to another child whose father I met in April 2022 while searching for an apartment.
I called a cab and Haysam was the taxi driver who picked me up to go visit, yet another apartment.

It struck me how calm he was despite irritated impatient drivers on the road. He mentioned how it was his second day of taxi driving.

I got interested in how he got into taxi driving and he mentioned how he’s from Syria and how he and his wife are having a hard time getting their diplomas recognized. He mentioned how his eldest daughter is about to start college and that his 14-year-old son is autistic.

His son is non-verbal. It makes it very challenging to communicate with him. Now that he’s getting bigger and stronger, it gets scary when he's in an emotional crisis, especially for his wife, Haysam said. They have a very hard time figuring out what he needs beyond his basic needs.


Haysam’s son might seem to have all his needs met but suddenly, he throws a fit by hitting and biting himself, or if they get too close, he bites and hits them too. Haysam showed me a bite scar on his right arm.

Their son might simply be suffering from physical pain or discomfort or be upset emotionally. However, they didn't find ways for him to communicate it, which leads him to frustration and anger outbursts.

Haysam mentioned how he started working on a website to create a tool to communicate with his son with pictograms, but he does not have a lot of time to work on creating it.


I was moved by his story and told him about the LEAPPS project and how I want him to benefit from this too. I took his email and I’m updating him on the advancement of LEAPPS.

Principles to pay attention to for all Apps

These are fundamentals that must be respected for every LEAPPS app. You might wonder, with all the apps that already exist, why create more apps that might do the same thing? This list of specificities might help to answer this question.

  1. 1
    Beware of any design that involves the aspect of memory: For example, associate a word with an image… if the words do not change location the user will record the location and not the spelling of the word! So varying the position choices from one rehearsal to another if possible is important.
  2. 2
    Refine and simplify applications. Do not put images of decor except those required by the activity (no superfluous decor)
  3. 3
    Include music as reinforcement: soft music with chimes or twinkling sounds (or bells) and not songs that are too busy… Feedback does not need to be long and elaborate. See the Trace and Share application to get an idea of suitable sounds for children: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trace-share/id568839447?mt=8
  4. 4
    Smiley faces, stars, or images that appear are often good positive reinforcements, which can be accompanied by little music!
  5. 5
    Do not include a sound aspect when the child does not succeed (as a sign of error), or they will attempt to reproduce this error repeatedly to get the stimuli.
  6. 6
    Important to always include gradation levels, because children evolve very quickly…Levels can be automatically graduated or manually selected with two arrows (next and previous).
  7. 7
    Avoid fluorescent or over-stimulating sources (or colors that are too bright).
  8. 8
    Pay attention to the typeface in the applications so as not to have, for example, computerized "a". (example of the suitable font: Tw Cen MT – Microsoft Word) we want to integrate the letters that will later be used for learning calligraphy, for example with the lower case letter “ a ”.

Demo LEAPPS App

This is a demo of the App Model Replication developed for the university project of the human-computer interface course in 2014.

What I Do

Amoritz Art provides funding to get iOS apps developed by professional developers.

I'm also in direct contact with the users to get the needs for the apps and plan with them all the details; their needs and vision for what the purpose each app will be used for and the problem it will solve, the core features and functionalities to accomplish their vision, the design to align with the purpose and the user experience (UX) aspects, as well as getting their feedback for the iterations throughout the app development process to assure the app will adequately achieve the goal in mind.

I will also coordinate the distribution of the app to every educational and rehabilitation center where the apps can support the users. I will promote the apps to ensure that all those who need such tools can have access to them freely.

I do this for those who are challenged in their interactions by disabilities to bridge the gap between them, their loved ones, and the world around them.

I Donate From Every Order

Every time you buy Amoritz art, you're making a contribution to creating life-changing tools, and getting me closer to my mission to bridge the gap for people with disabilities, enhancing their ability to connect and communicate with the world around them.

Benefit from LEAPPS

Do you have a loved one that you think would benefit from this project? Click below to learn more and apply to receive the LEAPPS life-changing tools to help someone with disabilities who experiences major difficulties to connect and communicate with others.

IMMEDIATE GOAL

Gather the funds to create the hub that will contain the whole series of LEAPPS apps and create the first app in this new hub.

From exploring different options, I evaluate the financial needs between $30K and $40K for this first step.

I know that providing these valuable tools will impact the lives of people with disabilities and their families to create more joy, fulfillment, and progress by opening a way for connections otherwise arduous and near impossible.

Note from Me.

Having struggled for years to connect with people, even within my own family, I've firsthand experienced the tough and bewildering journey of overcoming social obstacles.

This journey is essential though challenging – crucial for stability, sustenance, and education. Without effective communication, success becomes an uphill battle.

While my limitations might not mirror those in the case studies above, I can empathize with situations like Haysam's son, who channels frustration into self-harm due to communication struggles.
Feeling isolated and voiceless is overwhelming and disheartening.

I'm fortunate to have discovered self-improvement through art – a catalyst for self-expression and self-understanding.
While social norms remain a puzzle, I've found my own norm, accepted it, and begun sharing it, leading to inner peace and fulfillment.

Although I don't entirely grasp societal conventions, I'm cultivating my own, finding solace in sharing it. Diverse abilities enrich us all; acknowledging, embracing, and sharing these abilities create genuine connections.

This essence of sharing what is true in us fosters personal growth and purpose fulfillment.
Everyone deserves this type of profound connection.
This is why my urge to support those isolated by disabilities fuels my commitment to the LEAPPS mission.

Make a contribution today in your name or in honor of someone you love.
Because of your generosity, the lives of people with disabilities will be transformed with new ways to engage with the world and uncover their potential.

I invite you to donate whatever you can, with an art purchase or a donation.

Since I discovered LEAPPS in 2014, this calling has driven me. I cannot wait anymore; action is crucial.
Join me in this pursuit. Your resonance and contribution will create lasting change

xo,

Maryse

FAQ

Who started LEAPPS?

Léa a 9-year-old at the time, has a psychological disorder that greatly affects all her development.

During a research project on the use of the iPad for children with learning difficulties, this tool proved to be very interesting for her case.
A master's student in occupational therapy from the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières continued her study concerning the use of the iPad in the case of Léa and it turned out that in some cases the available applications (and not configurable) did not allow to really support Léa with her needs.
In order to remedy this situation, a group of students volunteered to provide Léa with a tailor-made ludo-educational application throughout the fall of 2013 as a semester project as part of the GLO-4000 Human-Computer Interface course.
Following the work of this small group, an application aimed at cognitive development and early childhood education was born: Léapps.
Two students from this group (Roger Ingouacka from ÉPITECH and Mehdi El Hafed from Ecole National Superior of Cognitics of Bordeaux) undertook the creation of a team in order to design and develop an application accessible to the general public.

I was part of the second group to participate in developing an application for this project throughout the fall of 2014 as a semester project as part of the GLO-4000 Human-Computer Interface course.

It turns out that the first application created in 2013 needed some adjustments to be functional for Léa but our team of 9 members managed to create a fully functional app thanks to a bigger team. 

I kept in contact with the professor of the course and also with Léa's mother and I understood that this project did not progress further due to a lack of participants. 

Since 2014, I wanted to learn how to code so I could pursue this mission. I was not able to take the time to learn and ended up spending 3.5 years on disability leave from an immune disease during which period I started to paint and discovered a passion and a new channel to communicate and connect with myself and others. 

In the last 2 years of disability, I engaged in vocational training part-time to secure myself a better work opportunity for when I would recover. 

This is how I started working in IT as a network security analyst in May 2020. But I never forgot about LEAPPS and I needed to figure out a way to keep this project alive.

I explored different options and as I'm starting to promote my art to find more people who resonate with it, I decided that my art could become a part of LEAPPS by funding the creation of the apps with professional developers to ensure continuity.

Is LEAPPS a registered non-profit organization?

Not yet. I researched and found extensive paperwork and delays. If needed, I'll review this later, but I think it's not crucial for beginning momentum. Waiting for perfection isn't efficient. The nonprofit registration paperwork even assumes you're already running the nonprofit, indicating a need to start before registering.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

No, your donation to LEAPPS is not tax deductible because LEAPPS is not a registered non-profit organization yet.

When I donate, how much of my donation goes directly to fund the app creation?

All donations go directly to LEAPPS. Currently, LEAPPS isn't registered as a nonprofit, so there are no administrative costs. From art sales, a portion supports LEAPPS. While consistent sales haven't begun, I'm committed to contributing while ensuring my financial stability. If you connect with my art, your support helps both my growth as an artist and LEAPPS. I commit at least 1% of sales or $1, whichever is higher, and plan to increase this over time.

I'm a developer and I would love to get involved in this project. How can we make this happen?

Thank you! Please send us an email at leapps@amoritz.art and we'll discuss if this is a good fit!

I'm a parent, a professional, or an education/rehabilitation center for people with similar disabilties. How can I access these apps?

I would love to connect and support you with the LEAPPS mission! Please answer the questions with this application discussion form.

I'm so inspired by what you're doing. I already made a donation but I want to do more. What else can I do to help?

Help us spread the word by sharing this page with your friends and sharing about LEAPPS on social media.

I'm a journalist, reporter, blogger, podcaster, etc. and I'd like to do a piece on LEAPPS. May I schedule an interview with you?

Yes. I’d love to spread the word about my mission. Please contact me at leapps@amoritz.art.

I have another question that's not addressed here. Who should I contact?

If you have a question that is not addressed here, email me at leapps@amoritz.art.

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