New ‘Vest’ App Changing Lives of Cerebral Palsy Patients and People with Other Special Needs

New ‘Vest’ App Changing Lives of Cerebral Palsy Patients and People with Other Special Needs

A new cloud app called Vest has been introduced to help people living with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, and parents of children with special needs in organizing, managing, and sharing critical information.

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Signs and symptoms vary between people, and often, symptoms include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, and tremors. There may also be problems with sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing, and speaking.

CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture. Most often the problems occur during pregnancy, but they may also happen during childbirth or shortly after birth.

Patients with cerebral palsy are faced with numerous challenges, including communicating special needs to parents, educators, and the networks that provide support. The inability to communicate makes it more challenging for those living with cerebral palsy to be as independent as they would like.

The Vest app can change that, according to its developers, special needs lawyer Michael Pearce and his wife Sue. One example where the new app made a difference is in the life of Jessica Weber, who lives with CP. For Jessica and her mother Cathy, making sure that Jessica’s needs are met has been a lifelong battle. They tried many communication technologies before Jessica found Vest.

“I use Vest several times a day. I am constantly updating and going back to find information that I and/or my mom needs. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and update my Vest. Due to my Cerebral Palsy, I also have a learning and developmental disability so I need everything written down, so for me to go into Vest and read everything is very comforting to me,” said Jessica Weber, according to a news release.

With Vest, Jessica has been able to input, access, and safely share critical information, which allows her and other users to achieve greater independence. According to her, “Vest is like my security blanket. It has given me a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I am preparing for my future and I have some control.”

For the past 20 years, Michael and Sue Pearce have been working closely with the special needs community, and funded their own SaaS (software as a service) aiming to help people living with special needs. The result was the creation of the Vest app, which enables people with special needs to organize, manage, and access all their special needs and disability information from any device.

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Daniela holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, a MSc in Health Psychology and a BSc in Clinical Psychology. Her work has been focused on vulnerability to psychopathology and early identification and intervention in psychosis.

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