Member Mondays: Building Bridges Between Members

In this edition of Member Mondays, the App Association highlights two of our member companies working together to help children with special health needs.

BridgingApps, an ACT | The App Association member and non-profit program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, strives to bridge the gap between technology and people with disabilities. Founded by parents and therapists, BridgingApps provides access to educational and therapeutic tools anywhere, anytime. This allows parents, teachers, and therapists to effectively use mobile devices and apps to target and improve individual skill development to help children and adults with disabilities reach their highest levels of physical and cognitive development.

Late last fall, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services awarded the BridgingApps program a $300,000 grant to create an online tool to assist Texas families with children who have special healthcare needs access information that prepares and successfully helps them transition to adulthood.

Chris Sims leading a discussion (standing) with Betsy Furler (sitting center right) and others from BridgingApps team.

According to BridgingApps, “a focal point of the tool is connection with BridgingApps’ App Search Tool, a free online tool allowing users to find a variety of smartphone and tablet applications to assist with many areas of transition, such as education, managing health information, and independent living. BridgingApps will seek input from organizations/people from around Texas to create this resource. The Transition Tool will be available in 2019 on a variety of platforms and distributed widely in Texas with partners in the areas of healthcare, education, disability advocacy, and housing.”

To develop this tool, Betsy Furler, the training and therapy coordinator of BridgingApps, turned to fellow App Association member Chris Sims of Sigao Studios for help. Sigao Studios specializes in Scrum development projects and has more than 50 years of combined software development experience.

Betsy Furler has had a long history of helping children with special needs improve their lives. A speech pathologist by trade, Betsy spent nine years at Texas Children’s Hospital before starting her own company, Communication Circles, in 2009. Through this company, Betsy provides consulting services to app developers and tech companies to help them make their products usable for people with disabilities. She started consulting for BridgingApps in 2012.

Chris Sims has more than 10 years’ experience in medical technology. Early in his career, he helped develop software solutions for an enterprise-level electronic medical records system for long-term care facilities, after which he worked with the University of Alabama to help build a consulting practice focused on Alabama Health and Human Service applied research. From there he served as the deputy program director for the Centralized Alabama Recipient Eligibility System. Chris was responsible for building an agile software development team of more than 100 individuals tasked with the development of a state-wide eligibility system. In 2015, Chris co-founded Sigao Studios.

Betsy and Chris’s work to build bridges between technology and special needs care came about through their shared experiences as members of the App Association. They have both been active members for several years and met and networked at the App Association’s annual App Economy Conference (AppCon). The three-day conference brings more than 50 of the App Association’s top members to Washington, D.C., to meet with other technology leaders and software developers from across the country, and engage their elected officials on some of the most pressing issues facing the tech industry today.

The App Association is proud to call Betsy and Chris members, and we are proud of the work they are doing to help children with special health care needs successfully transition to adulthood.

For more information on the work BridgingApps and Sigao Studios are doing, please visit their websites.

For more information about AppCon please visit



Thanks to Betsy and Chris for providing us with information about this project and for their lovely photo.

By | 2017-03-16T10:40:44+00:00 March 13th, 2017|