When his daughter was diagnosed with autism, Leo Lagnado created a free app that allows autistic people and caregivers to find and rate sensory-friendly places. Learn more about the creation of NeuroHub below. Available on iOS and Android.
I’m Leo, a Canadian living in Toronto, Ontario. My family is deeply connected to the autistic community; my daughter, born in 2017, is autistic.
I am dedicated to advocating for the autistic community. I volunteer for Autism Ontario and serve as a volunteer representative in the Toronto District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee.
What inspired the idea behind NeuroHub?
The idea for NeuroHub came from a personal need to find sensory-friendly spaces for my family. We often found ourselves struggling to locate environments that would accommodate my daughter’s sensory needs. I realized that there was a gap in resources and tools for locating sensory-friendly spaces, and that’s when I decided to create NeuroHub myself.
How did you go about designing the app?
I had to learn how to code in Xcode Swift for iOS, which kept me up many long nights trying to figure it out and program the app!
I focused on creating a simple, intuitive, and user-friendly interface. It took many months, but finally worked out. It is great to see the reviews coming in for so many places.
Ah yes, and it’s now just been released for Android as well!
How did you test the app?
We did several rounds of beta testing, involving both autistic individuals and their families. This allowed us to refine the user experience based on real-world feedback. I also conducted one-on-one interviews to understand the unique needs and preferences of the community. The app was designed in consultation with over 70 neurodiverse individuals, making it a community-driven project from the start!
How has your family benefited from the app?
We can now find sensory-friendly places that accommodate our daughter’s needs. We have found quite a few new places we were not aware had sensory-friendly days, for example.
Can businesses also benefit from the info in the app?
Businesses can gain insights into how to make their spaces more sensory-friendly, which is the right thing to do. Also, businesses that are rated highly on the app are likely to see increased support from the autistic community.
Anything else you would like to add?
I invite everyone to download NeuroHub and join us in creating a more inclusive world. By contributing to the app, you’re not just finding sensory-friendly spaces but also opening doors to so many families like mine. Together, we can shape a more accepting and inclusive future.
Neurohub is available on iOS and Android.