BOSTON (CBS) – Many children with autism haven’t been able to attend in-person therapy sessions because of the pandemic – or because they simply can’t afford it.
Four high school students have a plan to help.
Senior Priyanka Senthil from Nevada and three other students from the Bay Area have created the AUesome Kit – for kids with autism.
“I have a childhood friend who has autism and I used to help him with therapy when I was younger,” Senthil told WBZ-TV. “I came to realize how important therapy is for these children.”
She teamed up with the other students through an entrepreneurship program and designed the kits. They’re customizable, with seven to 10 activities in each box, including emotion flash cards.
“It really helps them understand how to react in different social scenarios, which all children struggle with at the beginning, and especially children with special needs,” Senthil said.
There are also building blocks and a therapy brush for tactile training.
“I became very quickly impressed with their work,” said Dr. Todd Peter Levine, a psychiatrist who’s helping advise the students on the AUesome Kit.
He said the activities included can help develop coordination, language and socialization.
“It’s not the same as some of these more structured therapies with families coming in, but to maintain a connection with the outside world while you’re home is incredibly important and valuable,” he said.
The students have already shipped out dozens of kits, including to families here in Massachusetts.
And the best part: The kits are free. But Priyanka and her classmates are relying on donations. You can find more information on how to help them here.