Young inventor developing app for autistic kids

The 12-year-old invented an app to help children with autism express themselves.

At 12-years old, Annalisa Ureña isn’t on Albert Einstein’s level yet but the Family of Christ seventh-grader is closing in.

Okay, maybe that’s overstating it a bit. But, the budding teenager is a budding inventor in her own right.

“My goal is to help make a difference and even just making one person’s life better for a day or anything then it’s good for me,” she said from her school’s computer lab this week.

Her school requires students from 5-8 grades to develop a prototype for an invention each new school year. Annalisa has come up with some pretty interesting ideas the last three years.

“I just think that it’s cool that girls can invent because it’s not only a guy dominated field,” she said.

Three years ago she developed a teddy bear that may help prevent SIDS. Then, the following year she created the Eye T, a t-shirt with GPS-connected sensor that would help a visually impaired person find his or her way to a location with the aid of buzzes when it was time to turn a corner.

Then, last year she came up with the idea to create a smart phone app.

“The Creative Minds app which is an app for children with autism to help them learn how to be more expressive and use their emotions in day to day conversations,” she said with a smile.


The ideas have garnered a lot of attention, both locally and nationally. She is the recipient of Young Innovator finalist award in both 2016 and 2017 for her involvement in the USF Young Innovator competitions. It’s a showcase that highlights the best and brightest ideas from young minds.

The idea for her app was born out of a volunteering experience. Annalisa met children with intellectual disabilities and delays at a Buddy Baseball league. It inspired her to want to help kids dealing with those issues. Her app idea won third place for her age group at a national invention competition in Washington D.C. this summer

“One of the proudest dads you’ll find,” said her father, Alfred. “You know she’s a great student, a great daughter and then she has all these fantastic ideas.”

Annalisa is brainstorming for her 2017-2018 ideas. The next USF Innovator competition is set for February.

“I just like helping people,” she said. 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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