Kids Making a Difference: Alexander Knoll, Founder of Ability App


Alexander is a 13 year old from Idaho that loves helping people. When Alexander was 9 years old he came up with the idea for Ability App, an app that helps people with disabilities find disability friendly features in public, such as wheelchair ramps and automatic doors, as well as services and employment opportunities. We are thrilled to have Alexander as our Wonder Crate Kid of the month for December and to be able to ask him some questions about how he is thinking big and making a positive impact.

What positive impact do you hope to have in the world?

I hope to make a positive impact on people with disabilities all over the world.  I’m developing an app that will help people with disabilities and their caregivers navigate public spaces and find safe, reliable services and employment opportunities, called Ability App.

What steps have you made towards your goal?

My journey helping others started when I was 9 and saw a man in a wheelchair struggling to open a heavy door at a store.  I wondered if there was an app that could have told him what other stores around the area had automatic doors so that he could access the store without difficulty.  I went home to do some research, and I couldn’t find such an app, so I started on my inventor’s journey. I submitted my idea to a local student inventor’s competition, called Invent Idaho.  I won that competition and a couple more invention competitions, which helped bring attention to my idea. I spent a lot of time speaking at conferences about accessibility and inclusion and how Ability App can help people with disabilities.  At one of the conferences, I met some computer engineers who have not only mentored me but are also helping me develop Ability App.  

I have found that creating, hosting and maintaining a global app like Ability App is not only a big undertaking, it’s also very expensive. If you would like to help support Ability App, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/abilityapp to make a donation.

What top 3 internal skills have you used along the way?  I have used persistence, compassion and social responsibility to reach my goals. I have persistently pursued the development of Ability App for almost 5 years. It takes hard work and dedication to reach your goals.  Having compassion for others is important in all aspects of life. We’re all in this world together, it’s nice to lend a helping hand to others. When you see a problem that impacts others, you have a social responsibility to find a solution to help.

Alex and Ellen
Alexander received a $25,000 donation from Ellen DeGeneres to start creating his app.

How can other kids get involved?

Your help is needed if you would like to volunteer to become an Ability Ambassador. Ability Ambassadors simply note where the disability friendly features are where they live, work, play and visit.  It’s fun, free and easy! There’s no obligation! Just help, if you can by signing up at AbilityApp.org with your parent’s consent.  We hope that you will join us in making this world accessible for everyone.

If you have a great invention, submit your idea to a local or national invention competition.  If you have a passion and drive to make the world better, let the world know about it! It’s all about identifying a need and taking steps to find a solution. Just because you are a young person doesn’t mean that you are not capable of changing the world for the better.  Dream big, set goals, and work hard to achieve them.

Learn more about Alexander, watch his video and discover how you can use your creativity to solve real world problems at Wonder Crate. A portion of sales from each Wonder Crate will support Ability App.

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