Madelyn Jackson: The Inspiring Path of Young Activist who Developed an App to Assist Children in Finding Their Voice

This app connects children who cannot speak/communicate to the world in the most comfortable and individual way possible.

In this piece, we highlight the amazing job of the young activist Madelyn Jackson, who presented Personalized Autism Communication Application (P.A.C.A.), a personalized autism communication app to help children and families.

Speaking to Youth Time, Jackson presents our readers to P.A.C.A. and what was her inspiration behind it. Also, she shares an uplifting message to young people and their role in building better societies.


The Value of Helping Children

Happy that she can help these children, she speaks more about the features of the app and how she is planning its prototype.

“P.A.C.A. is an app meant to help children who are nonverbal or on the spectrum communicate with others. This could mean communication with family members, school friends/staff, or other people in the community. It is important for a tool like this to be personalized for the user or by the user so that they are not all put into the same category and seen as needing all the same things.”, she says.


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Madelyn Jackson

Her inspiration stemmed from how these people are often all put into the same category, with few ways to personalize the features in the tools they rely on to help them.

“I am currently in the process of creating a rough prototype to see how the app would work with all the distinct features I want to incorporate into it.”

She further elaborates how the app works, how it can be personalized and what’s its importance in helping people/young people with autism to be an equal part of our societies.

She further elaborates on how the app works, how it can be personalized and what’s its importance in helping people/young people with autism to be an equal part of our societies.

The app, she explains, has a main screen that displays icons with a simple phrase or word that the picture on the icon represents. When the icon is pressed the word the picture represents is emitted out loud in a personalized or pre-recorded voice of the guardian/caretaker.


“The reason that these words would be emitted in these voices is to help provide comfort for the user while they are using the app. There is also a screen where the guardian/caretaker can change the voice emitted, icons, and language. There is another screen where a guardian or user can ask questions, a place where feedback can be given about the overall app, and a learning tab.”, adds Jackson, who in her free time enjoys reading, writing, playing guitar, meeting new people, and teaching new skills.


The Value of Hearing Others

The learning system is a place where children using the app that have not had time to be introduced to this technology can be given an opportunity to learn certain words and the icons that go with the words.

“It will also provide strategies and activities for the guardians to do with their children to help familiarize both parties on how to communicate using certain actions and what certain words may mean.”

She fully believes it is important to provide a way for these children to become slowly introduced to this technology.

In this process, users’ opinions will be listened to and taken into account.

“It is also very important to give a way for the users to provide criticism about the app and things they want to be different to be able to help each user as much as possible, and create a way to help provide comfort to these children while using this app.”


The Irreplaceable Value of Youth’ Voices

We at Youth Time always love to hear from young successful entrepreneurs such as Jackson, and we seize this opportunity to hear her thoughts on the youth’s role in today’s world and why it’s important to make their voices be heard.

She thinks in today’s world it is extremely important for young people to make their voices heard.

“The youth are the people who are going to change the world and lead the change along with it. It is up to the youth to stand up for what is right and create the future through their ideas, work, and their words.”, she says.

Conclusively, she emphasizes without the ideas of the youth, there will be no progress in the future.

“So, it is important to stand up for what you believe in, continue to create and design new ideas, technology, and solutions to problems, and not be afraid to take the lead when it comes to.”

Photos: Grese Sermaxhaj

P.A.C.A. is supported by NFTE, and in the following link you can read more about their important contributions:

NFTE: Helping Youth from Low-income Communities Succeed


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