Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, University of South Florida
The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD-USF) has been at the University of South Florida since 1993 and serves individuals of any age who have autism spectrum disorders as well as individuals with dual sensory impairments. CARD-USF serves constituents within the 14 county catchment area that was set up by the Florida Legislature. Autism is a lifelong neurological disability that affects a person’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and socially interact with other’s. The first signs of autism usually appear as developmental delays before age three.
CARD services include training for parents and professionals, direct assistance to constituents and families, technical assistance for other organizations, community project development and also providing resources and referrals for families and professionals.
CARD-USF had been using FileMaker to track contact and activity data for over 10 years, using files built in-house by self-taught employees.
Using FileMaker, CARD-USF was able to collect detailed information about the demographics, needs, and interactions of staff with the families and professionals with whom they work.
However, data integrity was heavily dependent on the the data coordinator, who was entering most of the information herself. The staff, with a few exceptions, resisted the process because it was bulky, and required flipping between files, each of which had a different layout, different “look”, and different purpose.
As FileMaker moved into version 7, CARD-USF realized that they would need some assistance to fully leverage the new features and ensure ease of entry and data integrity for the growing amount of information required by the state.
CARD-USF needed a new FileMaker system that could accommodate current data needs, but also be flexible enough to accommodate new requirements and objectives. It was also important that the solution be user-friendly so that data could be entered reliably by individual consultants, rather than one person managing all the input.
Extensitech began by meeting with CARD-USF to understand the “culture”
of how CARD operated, which included aspects of education, medicine, and mental health.
Working with CARD-USF, we developed the “CARDTech” solution using the infrastructure of Extensitech’s xBase. The solution is flexible and extensible, and CARD-USF continues to add features, and has plans to begin incorporating medical and educational documents, and even pre- and post-videos into the system.
Individual CARD consultants at USF have become virtually independent, entering their own phone calls, e-mails, meetings, trainings, and other events.
“Extensitech made suggestions based on their broad inter-disciplinary background that helped us re-think some of the ways we operate. In working collaboratively, they helped our process become more efficient, and led to better flow between activities and data entry…
We developed CARDTech (using the infrastructure of Extensitech’s xBase) together, and eventually rolled out what we think is a terrific, flexible data tracking system.”
Extensitech began working with CARD-USF in mid 2013 to optimize CARD-USF’s solution for implementation on the iPad platform. Extensitech redesigned the user interfaces of CARD’s existing Extensitech solution to allow users to fully access the functionality of the solution on the iPad for more convenient use outside of the office.