Skip to content

STAR Autism Support: Links Curriculum E‑Learning Platform 

Since the incep­tion of the com­pa­ny, STAR Autism Sup­port has been a leader in the field of Autism edu­ca­tion, and has con­tin­u­al­ly grown and devel­oped inten­sive and prac­ti­cal tools to aid school dis­tricts in the fur­ther­ance of this edu­ca­tion. Seek­ing the abil­i­ty to expand its Links soft­ware, improve UX, and show­case new fea­tures, STAR Autism Sup­port approached GRAYBOX in 2016.

Overall Outcome

GRAYBOX part­nered with STAR Autism Sup­port to improve and update their Links 1.0 appli­ca­tion to be scal­able, expand fea­tures and improve design.

The Results

STAR Autism Sup­port devel­oped a local­ized, dynam­ic cur­ricu­lum set with updat­ed core func­tion­al­i­ty and tech­nol­o­gy using a test dri­ven approach.

  • 4+
    Unique Curriculum Sets
  • 60+
    Multi-Language Routines per Curriculum
  • 150+
    Distinct Lessons per Curriculum

The Overall Problem

Based on curriculum developed through the over 40 years of research and instruction conducted by Dr. Joel Arick, STAR Autism Support (SAS) was founded in the early 2000’s to provide curriculum materials, workshops and training to school and agency staff working with students with autism. As part of this effort, in 2012 SAS ultimately developed Links 1.0, web-based version of its curriculum in order to offer its products to a wider Audience.

Being relatively home grown, the Links 1.0 application has faced multiple issues including the inability to appropriately scale to meet users needs, lack of sophisticated UX, overall user management issues, and an architectural issue that added complexity in the addition new features for customers. In 2016 Star worked with GRAYBOX on the task of planning and developing Links 2.0, an updated version of the successful software product that would offer new features, scalability, modern UI, and an updated technology base for the aging platform.

The 2.0 platform would have several new features, including lesson assessments, additional reporting tools and improved UX and visual designs.

I’m in total awe of the performance

Jesse Arick, CEO, Star Autism Support

Our Solution

1. Taking pen and paper, to the digital world

Initial discovery of the project took a great deal of understanding how teachers would be accessing and using the platform. For a long time, teachers have had the flexibility to modify curriculums in any way possible, via pen and paper with printed content. Creating this level of modularity within the confines of an application would be complex.

2. Localized curriculums for variability in education

Laying out the groundwork for allowing curriculums to be modified based on region was another hurdle to account for. The Links platform is currently deployed in the US, China and Australia. Each region has its own unique curriculum (USA actually has two separate curriculums) with the need to continuously develop new curriculum sets as needed. Our platform would allow us to redefine curriculum sets and levels as needed, in the event it would become a requirement.

3. Leveraging test driven development

We designed our Lesson Assessments in React and heavily covered it with Unit testing. The initial build addressed as much of the business logic possible, and then we developed the front end with React components that inherited that logic. Using this method, we were able to ensure that the business logic maintained a rigid functional structure that would run Unit tests within our CI, and fail to build if any of our tests failed. If bugs popped up, we write tests for the bugs, ensure those fail, fix the bug, and ensure tests pass.

Fig­ur­ing out how to bring the Links cur­ricu­lum, from paper to dig­i­tal, for teach­ers requir­ing train­ing tools with unique and robust vari­abil­i­ty that meet their needs has been an excit­ing chal­lenge. The work STAR is doing in their indus­try is pow­er­ful, and to be a part of ensur­ing chil­dren with autism are able to receive effec­tive instruc­tion and sup­port is so rewarding.

Jacob Parker, Applications Practice Director at GRAYBOX

Our Services

GRAYBOX worked with STAR Autism Support creating improved UX with updated core technology. The need was a scalable platform with customizable curriculums regionally.

Our Results

STAR Autism Support was able to have a curriculum that increased their brand appeal and allowed teachers to more effectively engage with students.

STAR Autism Support's partnership with GRAYBOX turned out to be a great success. After two years of development, the platform was launched in the US, Australia, and China, with unique curriculums for various regions and multiple languages to cater to them.

  • 4+
    Unique Curriculum Sets
  • 60+
    Multi-Language Routines per Curriculum
  • 150+
    Distinct Lessons per Curriculum