Sonokids’ innovative applications support all who are blind or visually impaired in learning essential digital skills, to enable the effective use of computers or mobile devices, and to achieve goals and dreams.
Established in 1999, Sonokids is passionate about developing fun and educational accessible games, digital tools and software for learners who are blind or have low vision. John Norgaard (Chief Programmer) and Phia Damsma (Creative Director) believe that Digital Technology provides an opportunity for everyone to participate equally and inclusively, regardless of a disability, and that Digital Literacy is essential for education, social life, and (future) employment. Everybody should get the opportunity to develop essential digital skills, through accessible learning.
Sonokids’ game apps are not only fully accessible for blind users, and support digital skills, but they are also fun! All apps are tested by blind users, parents and teachers. Sonokids apps are audio based, with original stories, songs and sounds. Sonokids is largely depending on funding and sponsoring. To help us continue our work, please contact us to discuss collaboration, sponsoring, or advertising.
Audio Based Coding: An Innovative Approach to Accessible Coding for Children who are Blind, Phia Damsma and John Norgaard - Journal of South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment, (Volume 11, number 1, 2018). See pp 49 – 58 in
Journal of South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment, (Volume 11, number 1, 2018)
Article by Phia Damsma (2019) for the Wonderbaby website, which is dedicated to helping parents of young children with visual impairments as well as children with multiple disabilities: How Access to an iPad Can Change a Blind Child's Life
- Winner of the prestigious, global 2020 Zero Project Award (Innovative Practice in Inclusive Education of People with Disabilities)
- Finalist in the 2016 Australian National Disability Awards for Excellence in Accessible Technology. These awards recognise excellence in innovative design and use of accessible technologies to improve the lives of Australians with disability.
- Winner 2014 AMP Tomorrow Maker. The AMP Tomorrow Fund program recognised Phia Damsma as a "Tomorrow Maker" with a dream of creating a better tomorrow for everyone, teaching technology skills to young children, with and without a disability, including children who are blind or have low vision.
- Winner 2013 Roma Blair Special Commendation Award in Gold Coast Women in Business Awards. In recognition of outstanding determination, dedication and leadership (Phia Damsma).
- Winner 2012 ’Internet for Good’ Gold Standard Award (Asia Pacific Region), Gold Standard Awards program, Public Affairs Asia. The award recognises excellence in the use of the internet in promoting charitable causes and community engagement across Asia Pacific.
- Winner 2012 Women in Technology Professional Award (Phia Damsma). These awards aim to promote and showcase the achievements of women in the technology industries. This award is an acknowledgement of Sonokids' mission to support children and young people with a disability to participate fully in society, through the creation of innovative computer programs that teach and support technology skills that will benefit their education, social life, and future employment.
- Finalist 2012 Australia & New Zealand Internet Awards (ANZIAs), Internet Access & Digital Skills category
- Finalist 2011 International Design for All Awards (Spain), recognising examples of best practice in different areas of Design for All.
Sonokids is renowned and recognized for innovative, inclusive design of gamified learning resources. Sonokids developed the award winning All Abilities ePlayground, which offers children with and without a disability a safe, creative and imaginative online play environment (an initiative of the Gold Coast City Council in Queensland, Australia, supported by the Queensland Department of Communities (Disability Services). MaX 4.0© was a fully accessible on-line website-creation tool and content management system for blind users developed by Sonokids. RadaR the Eargame taught children with visual impairment how to safely access the Internet with screen reader technology. From 2006-2008 Sonokids collaborated with Italian, German and Dutch partners in the awarded project “Discovery and Experience Via Art“ (DEVA). Sonokids also pioneered an accessible Internet Radio station by and for young people who are blind or have low vision (Sonokids Radio).
The Sonokids team would like to acknowledge the following people for their contribution to the development of the apps:
- The children who tested the Ballyland apps, and their parents
- Specialist Teachers (Vision Impairment)
- Access Technology Consultants
- Steve Sparrow, voice-over
- Daniela Rubio Trujillo, Spanish voice-over, translation, DRJ Consulting, Spain.
- Jose Vicente Gonzales del Rincón, Spanish voice-over, production, DRJ Consulting, Spain.
- Alberto Pinos Fernandez, Spanish voice-over
- Ruiman, artist, Spanish Ballyland song
- Dennis Damsma, Design Engineer, Expert Consultant
The development of the Ballyland Magic app was made possible through a grant from the AMP Foundation Tomorrow Fund.
The Spanish language Ballyland Magico was created in collaboration with DRJ Consulting from Barcelona, Spain. Website: DRJ Consulting - Consultoría web, desarrollo, accesibilidad diversidad e inclusion.
The development of the Ballyland Rotor App was made possible thanks to all who supported the Sonokids Crowd Funding campaign.
Special mention in the crowd funding campaign goes to:
- Professor Tony Webber
- LinkVision at http://www.linkvision.org.au
- Hajé Shops, Hotels & Restaurants, The Netherlands http://www.haje.nu
- And very special thanks to our biggest contributor: Clinical Network Services Queensland Australia http://www.clinical.net.au.