Bay Area Teen Makes Therapy Accessible for Children With Autism and Their Families
Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Anshul Gupta. Read his story and nominate an outstanding volunteer or family as a Daily Point of Light.
Anshul Gupta, a high school senior from Sunny Vale, California, has dedicated much of his extracurricular life to the neurodiverse community. Born from his experiences receiving therapy and working with neurodiverse individuals, he co-founded and currently serves as president of AUesome, an initiative using technology to make educational and therapeutic resources more accessible to children with autism.
Founded in 2020, AUesome already boasts an impressive number of initiatives to serve children and families across the world, beginning with its hallmark offering, autism therapy kits. Anshul’s hope is to ease the financial and physical barriers to therapy by consolidating and designing these therapy kits to bring treatment tools directly to families.
To date, he has delivered nearly 17,000 activities to 550 parents, educators and organizations across 25 states and seven countries. These kits encompass a variety of activities, accompanied by additional resources via the organization’s website, which proudly displays its motto: “Bridging the digital and physical world of at-home therapy, one kit at a time.”
AUesome’s therapy kits help with communication skills, sensory skills, fine motor skills and more. Along with the kits, AUesome’s e-learning platform (which is currently being developed into a mobile app) includes instructional videos for parents and caregivers to educate themselves on how to provide therapy to their children in an at-home setting. This doesn’t necessarily negate the need for children to work with a therapist, but it makes consistent and ongoing therapy more accessible to families.
“I manage the entire program, providing therapy kits to children with autism – including their families – or working with schools, hospitals or companies,” Anshul says of his role at AUesome. “In existing therapeutic systems, there often are large physical or financial barriers that hinder individuals from receiving therapy. This issue is pretty prevalent and the pandemic only exacerbated it.”
Anshul, who has volunteered much of his time with children with special needs, also grew up with a stutter. These experiences inspired him to start an organization that could help better meet the needs of the neurodiverse community. AUesome has worked with over 35 different professionals to use the kits, gaining new perspectives from professors, parents, doctors, therapists and kids. These repeated uses allow Anshul to modify the design to increase effectiveness.
Aside from therapy kits, AUesome has launched an initative to create chapters, where students in high school or college can receive materials to help them with leadership and networking, as well as advocacy and spreading awareness about neurodiversity and the need for therapy. This new conduit allows students to be digital advocates in their own communities. So far, the organization has 17 chapters around the globe.
“We’re also hoping to expand more across the world through our global outreach initiative,” Anshul shares. “We’re currently working with the Brazilian government, Ukrainian hospitals, people in Canada, India and beyond, in an effort to make a bigger impact beyond just in the United States.”
Anshul and the AUesome organization has been featured in over 15 podcasts and news channels, including Think Kindness, CharityU, America Trends, CBS. Notably, Anshul got the opportunity to speak at South by Southwest EDU, winning their Student Competition and Diamond Challenge. He was also awarded the Equity Thru Entrepreneurship Award.
“It was exciting seeing new faces from across the entire industry,” Anshul says of speaking at South by Southwest. “I got to meet teachers, people leading ed tech companies, executives, even parents just wanting to learn more about the industry. Even though it was intimidating, it was a great opportunity to share my journey and help educate others.”
As AUesome continues to design and develop kits and work on a mobile app – which will include games, additional videos and progress tracking – Anshul is grateful for contributions from supporters. AUesome currently has a Go Fund Me campaign to help raise funds to distribute more kits and keep expanding their efforts.
“It’s always important to have a drive to do something more meaningful in the world around you, using your background and previous experiences,” Anshul says of volunteering. “You can do something beyond yourself, something that really has an influence on society – whether it’s in your local community or across the globe. By getting involved in something you’re truly passionate about, you can really transform the lives of others while also having a fulfilling process that benefits you too.”
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Anshul? Find local volunteer opportunities.