For those diagnosed with neurological conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, navigating daily life can be extremely difficult. They often struggle to concentrate, prioritize tasks and remember things, among other challenges.
With 1.5 million people in the UK alone affected by the condition, access to quality support is fundamental. But more often than not, this comes at a huge cost for individuals, families and society. Getting a diagnosis of ADHD takes up to two years, and treatments can cost from €10,000 to €14,500 per year in European countries.
Copenhagen-based tech startup Tiimo is on a mission to make life easier for children and young adults living with cognitive deficit disorders such as ADHD. The firm has developed an iOS and Android app that helps them comprehend time and maintain routine daily.
Combining scientific research and tech
Founded by Helene Lassen Nørlem and Melissa Würtz Azari, Tiimo draws on academia and science. They were inspired to form the company while working on a master’s thesis. “The idea for Tiimo came from my time at the IT University of Copenhagen, in 2014, when we were studying for our master’s degree,” remarks Lassen Nørlem.
“Following an education reform then underway in Denmark, which meant that children with ADHD had to be integrated into non-specialised schools, we wanted to investigate if, and how, technology could be used to support them, and it was this project that formed our thesis. What started as a research project quickly became a passion for us.”
Helene and Melissa were also motivated by the lack of effective support tools for families and children impacted by ADHD. A study from the University of Sheffield found that existing tools are poorly designed and rarely meet user needs.
“The research defines a successful digital tool as having pleasing visuals, the facility to personalise, potential to improve daily routines, as well as a design that can be used by both parent and child. As such, we wanted to create Tiimo to be the first smart, reliable, discreet and super accessible digital friend, based on a human-centred design process. Tiimo has been designed and developed in collaboration with 50 families and experts,” she continues.
“The fact is, all families are chaotic, but routines and schedules can be especially difficult for those with children who have cognitive deficit deficiencies. Our goal at Tiimo is to make life a bit less disrupted for the individual, parents and siblings alike.”
Improving quality of life
To Helene, the main aim of Tiimo is to create positive change and social inclusion among those who need structure and visual support, as well as their families. “It helps parents, teachers and caregivers to easily manage daily life by planning out the child’s activities and routines through a user-friendly calendar. This is all managed through a web platform and an app, available for both iOS and Android, and is compatible with a whole host of devices including smartphones, smartwatches and tablets.”
She says the app offers users a clear overview of what they should be doing at any given time, such as packing their bags for school or completing homework. “Tiimo addresses the child’s need for structure and focus through subtle reminders allowing the child to be more independent while reducing stress and conflict with caregivers.
“Visual icons, colors and emojis can be added and modified to suit the child’s preferences and learning methods. Reminders can also be activated so that the child’s device will emit small vibrations, or sounds, alerting them when they are halfway through an activity, when is five minutes to go and when they should change activity.”
Since launching in Denmark last year, Tiimo has supported more than 800 families and is currently undergoing an ambitious expansion campaign. Having secured over £1 million of funding, it’s just launched in the UK. Helene says her team is focused on getting Tiimo into the hands of everyone who needs it.
She concludes: “As it has been designed to be in-tune with the child of today, we are keen to continuously improve the user experience and are currently working on new features based on some of the feedback we have received. To this end, we are seeking further funding to launch Tiimo worldwide, while also applying for EU funds from Horizon 2020 to finance further scientific research.”