During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bay Area and Reno teens Isabella He, Priyanka Senthil, Andrew Kim, Anshul Gupta, and Arnav Gurudatt started a social enterprise dedicated to providing at-home therapy for children with special needs.
Parents of children with autism hope that their child will be able to live wonderful and rewarding lives. Continuous, at-home therapy makes all the difference in the world when it comes to reaching this goal. At-home therapy is a necessity for children with special needs, but currently, it is only a privilege to those who can afford to spend over $125 per session for an at-home therapist.
The AUesome team has extensive experience working with children with special needs. As volunteers at nonprofit organizations such as Northern Nevada RAVE and Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN), they know the importance of finding a solution to this growing issue and want to be at the forefront of this change. Co-founder Isabella He has also interned at a hospital program for children with special needs, and has seen firsthand the process and benefits of therapy for children with autism.
And this is precisely why they created their social enterprise, AUesome (https://auesome.co). AUesome makes customizable at-home therapy kits that help children improve communication and motor skills. They designed their product with input from experts from Duke, Stanford, Harvard, Brown, University of Nevada, Reno, therapists, and nonprofit organizations.
Some of the activities in their kits focus on helping children develop social and emotional intelligence by teaching them common facial expressions and emotional responses to everyday scenarios. Other activities focus on intricate movements like lacing, pinching, and building that can be applied to everyday tasks such as tying shoelaces, using pencils, and holding utensils.
This team knows that no two children with special needs are exactly alike, and that is why they provide customized therapy kits. Parents can choose from a large catalog of activities to include in their kit, giving them the freedom to choose exercises that they think will best benefit their child and their personal needs. AUesome provides activities that target a wide range of difficulty levels to challenge children of different ages and functional levels. This means that the AUesome kits can progress right alongside the children!
But what makes AUesome different from other products that aim to help children with special needs?
AUesome is the only product that provides families with all of the three key components of successful at-home therapy: parent-implemented intervention, where parents continuously work with their child at home, personalization, and hands-on training. AUesome’s physical therapy kits are accompanied by an interactive online app that allows children to learn hands-on and digitally. The exercises on their AUesome app are integrated with the activities in the kit to provide children with the best of both worlds. They also provide instructional videos to guide families through parent-implemented training. The exercises in the AUesome app can also be accessed offline, giving families the flexibility to continue therapy anytime, anywhere. AUesome’s accompanying app also provides a performance tracking feature to help parents track their child’s progress over time.
Within just one week of launching their product, the team delivered 8 kits to customers across three different states. And through donations on GoFundMe, they have raised $1,060 in just 6 days.
AUesome has received extremely positive feedback from its users. Krupa Shyam, a parent with a child with autism, said, “I really liked the product. I found the clothespin activity, emotion flashcards, and shapes to be very innovative and helpful because they bring in a lot of communication with the kids. The videos were great and I would definitely be willing to buy another kit.”
Shyam said, “Yes, the kits are valuable, especially now with the COVID situation, when we don’t have much to do outside, and our ability to go to therapy (sessions) goes on and off,” she said. “If there’s a worry about an exposure at the therapy office, then appointments can be cancelled for two or three weeks. So it’s really good to have this at home.”
“AUesome has done a good job with the kits,” Shyam said. “They have identified the target problems children with autism usually have with communication and fine motor skills, and they have chosen very good materials to go in the kits.”
Priced at just $15 a kit, AUesome adds an estimated $1,500 in value to their customers each year just by saving 1 hour per week of at-home therapy.
Through its kits, AUesome aims to make therapy accessible to all and hopes that children with special needs can live the best lives they possibly can!
You can visit their website at https://auesome.co. Sign up for a kit today! To support their cause to make at-home therapy accessible to all, visit their GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/aue…