Helping Autistic Students Gain a New Dimension of Creative Expression
March 25, 2022
How many of you can hold a pencil? A pen? We often take those skills for granted, but this task can be challenging and discouraging for 14 million U.S. children diagnosed with a developmental disability and hundreds of millions of students, adults, and seniors worldwide. That is why we developed a tool that will help autistic students gain a new dimension of creative expression.
What inspired you and your team to tackle this issue?
Despite the many children with developmental disabilities in classrooms across America, there is an apparent lack of essential tools to support them. Students with developmental disabilities often have motor and sensory issues that prevent them from using the same school supplies as other students in the classroom. Although 7.3 million students supposedly benefit from services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, many do not receive truly satisfactory benefits. For example, in California, 1 in 8 schools are “ill-equipped” to serve their special needs students.
It is frustrating to see students have their creative freedom limited.
That is why we became OmniCreate. We set out to create the world’s first universal grip for K-12 autistic students with poor motor function. With sensory material and indentations, a curved ergonomic shape, and a wrist lanyard, our product has been designed based on feedback from users and expert occupational therapists.
With OmniCreate, kids can strengthen and train their fingers to use one grip, rapidly improving sensory and motor skills. We emphasize both functionality and comfort with our grip, as users can connect our tools to pens, paint brush heads, and other commonly-used items. The grips are personalized with color and sensory preferences, as we know each child is different.
Our mission is to revolutionize what creative freedom means to include everyone.
The Company’s Traction
At LaunchX, we started with in-depth market research. Over three weeks, we spent each morning to evening producing numerous emails, conducting various interviews, sending out surveys, and calling stores, therapy centers, independent counselors, schools, and students at multiple universities around the nation. We asked for their struggles in providing for their patients, specifically patients with autism, arthritis, ADHD, dyspraxia, and countless other conditions. We interviewed hundreds of experienced professionals and continue the process to this day!
After gathering insight, we began the design of our 3D grip model and, soon after, 3D printed it out at a local store. The detail was immaculate, motivating us to create more prototypes, conduct more market research, and pivot our ideas. As for our target market, we gained hundreds of connections through our interviews and are in talks with over four nonprofits to provide their entire mental health and cognitive development centers with our products. Moreover, to stabilize our manufacturing and create a sustainable manufacturing system, we are in talks with multiple manufacturing enterprises to produce our products in bulk.
Through our five weeks at LaunchX and after, we have grown immensely, crafting genuine relationships with customers, industry leaders, seasoned entrepreneurs, and ourselves. We are excited to take our next steps as a company and achieve our mission to allow everyone to “grip their creativity” with OmniCreate’s revolutionary grip.
Advice for new entrepreneurs
- The best possible team – Without a fully-dedicated and hardworking team, OmniCreate would not be where it is today. Over 23% of companies claimed they failed in the entrepreneurship space because of an unhealthy team dynamic. Having a great idea may be a significant first step, but without a solid team, there is a slim chance your company succeeds. We recommend meeting often and working in person. Work on team-building activities and talk about your personal lives.
- Progressing in the Trough of Sorrow – We are captivated by the “trough of sorrow,” a visual representation of a company founder’s journey, mainly because it applies to almost every startup experience. In the trough of sorrow, entrepreneurs experience the struggle of starting a company, facing their failures, and seeing their ideas get overlooked. Entrepreneurs worldwide are guaranteed to experience each stage of the graph, yet many back away from their ventures out of fear or a lack of belief in their goals. Though many entrepreneurs give up in scenarios like these, we see the trough as a learning opportunity where founders can face criticism head-on and grow from it. Furthermore, millions of insightful entrepreneurs and organizations have emerged from the trough, sharing their experiences and cultivating the next set of inspired entrepreneurs. LaunchX is one of those organizations.
- Trial and Error – Never in OmniCreate’s entrepreneurship journey did we think we were making a 100% foolproof move. There is no guarantee the person you email answers you or the person you call responds. Neither is there a thoroughly planned entrepreneurship template dictating what a team has to do each day to grow their business. Although planning is necessary, no one can nail a decision on the first try. Instead of spending the vast majority of your startup’s time planning, spend it on performing tasks that yield actionable results. Those tasks may seem daunting and may take what seems like ages to complete, but sooner rather than later, success will manifest itself.
OmniCreate consists of 4 members: Anchal Bhardwaj, Kedaar Rentachintala, Samika Agarwal, and Jasmine Yuan. Each member is fully dedicated to OmniCreate and brings unique expertise to the OmniCreate team, helping them grow into industry titans. Follow along the OmniCreate journey with these platforms:
Instagram – @omni.create
Linkedin – @OmniCreate