A DAD who made an app to help his autistic son has made it public to everyone for free.

Lucas Bennett from Parr is four-years-old and has autism, is non verbal and gets stressed when he does not have structure.

With that in mind his family have been using PEC cards with him for two years.

PEC (Picture Exchange Communication) card are cards with pictures on them used as an alternative communication system to help children affected by autism.

St Helens Star:

However, when changes are needed, Lucas' dad Adam found that his son would have 'a meltdown' as what he thought was the plan had changed and he had no visual cue to help him understand.

So Adam, 27, who works as a application and games developer, put his skills to the test and developed a program called VAST (Visual Aids and Sensory Timetables) for phones and tablets with many different cards, meaning instant changes and visual cues for little Lucas.

He said: "When we are out and plans have to change, maybe because a place is closed or whatever, Lucas would have a meltdown and couldn't understand.

"Often we didn't have all the cards with us to have a visual cue to explain what was happening instead and he would get really upset.

"So I made my own program where you can access the cards on a phone or tablet while you are out and offline so if changes happen you can help him understand instantly.

St Helens Star:

"He just took to it straight away, plus he loves being on phones and tablets so it suits his needs perfectly."

So far Lucas has been using the service for two months and Adam says he "absolutely loves it".

He added: "When there are services for special needs people then the price goes up and up and it's just not fair.

"So after I made this for Lucas I decided to put it on Google Play for everyone to access for free.

"If it can help someone else then that's everything to me."

The app is available on Google Play at bit.ly/VASTapp

It is currently only available for Android devices.