COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Students at Bridgeway Academy got the opportunity to practice getting on a COTA bus using an app called MagnusCards. COTA is partnering with Magnusmode to make traveling easier and more accessible for all customers.
The goal is to help those that are autistic or neurodivergent feel independent while traveling. It provides tips and lessons to those looking to plan a trip, pay fares and board buses.
“I want to magnify the world. When I saw creating an accessible world, that’s exactly what I mean,” said founder and president of Magnusmode, Nadia Hamiliton.
Hamilton created Magnusmode because she grew up helping her brother with autism.
“I used to draw out step-by-step guides, post them to the walls of our apartment and he would follow along to do activities with less stress, greater independence and more agency,” Hamiliton said.
Hamilton took those drawings and used them to create MagnusCards.
“We developed a set of card decks that walk people through taking the bus and other transit services,” Hamiliton said.
Students at Bridgeway Academy got to test it out today. The app uses visuals, step-by-step guides and audio to walk them through what to do.
Maxwell Wilson and Cameron Huth were two of the students that gave the app a go. When Maxwell was asked what he liked the most about it he responded, “how easy it is to use.”
“It helps you with everyday tasks in your life, like how it was explaining how we could get on a bus through steps,” Huth said.
Cameron’s mom, Ashley, was there to watch him follow the step-by-step instructions. He waited for the bus, got his pass ready, and then went on the bus with no problem.
“Obviously that’s our goal as he’s an adult is to be as independent as possible, so that’s huge for us. Pictures and words together help him and be able to follow steps and to practice it,” Ashley said.
After each student made it on the bus, they referred to their app to see what was next, which was to exit once they made it to their stop safely.
“MagnusCards was born out of love, out of necessity,” Hamiliton said. “The world is not built or designed for people who are autistic and I wanted to change that.”
The app is tailored to those that are autistic and neurodivergent, but COTA said anyone can use that app. Their goal is to make sure everyone feels comfortable enough to travel safely.
The app is free to download and is available in the app store. To learn more about Magnusmode, click here.