SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) – “I am a long-term care nurse and a school nurse and the parent of an adult son with autism,” says Holly Doherty, who is uniquely poised to launch an app called VIF which stands for Vital Information at your Fingertips. “How do you approach my son? How do you approach this person’s mother because that’s what’s going to matter if you’re going to help someone, right?”
She created it in honor of her son, Jack, a 23-year-old on the autism spectrum.
“Whatever information you have, whatever troubles you have, you can put it in the app,” says Jack.
The town of Southington uses the app for its Special Needs Registry, which will help those in the community create a centralized information database, connecting their support network of teachers, specialists, and more.
This project is a coordinated effort with the Persons with Disabilities Commission and the police department.
“This is going to give people real-time information, so I’m super excited about this program,” says Patricia Tavalozzi of the Commission.
“This is just another tool in our tool belt for the officers,” says retired Deputy Police Chief Bill Palmieri, who has worked on the program for years.
The program provides officers with details that could help de-escalate an uncertain situation.
“They get this information ahead of time, which is very important seconds matter in emergency situations,” says Dan Laporte, vice president of marketing for the VIF app, while showing off the features on a phone. “You tap on these icons, and it shows that this person happens to be hearing-impaired. They also are tactile defensive.”
The “stat” icon provides info for hospitals. Families can even tape a comforting message for a loved one in crisis.
The Dohertys hope this effort makes a big difference.
“I think it’s a great way for people to really get what they need,” says Jack.
Tents will be set up at the upcoming Southington Apple Harvest Festival for folks to signup for this registry.