Founder of Otsimo credits his autistic brother Alper for company’s success.
By Hasan Zafer Elcik
My younger brother Alper was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old.
When I bought my first smartphone in 2009, I noticed Alper had a special interest in smart devices. At that time, my brother was non-verbal and could not read. He was eight years old.
I bought an iPad for him as a birthday present, but there was no tailor-made game for children with special needs. Some communication (AAC) apps were too expensive and hard to try. Other games were not appropriate for my brother because they were too difficult for him; contained ads which could be harmful; or too many colors which wasn’t good for stimuli problems. I was studying Computer Engineering back then and decided to make something unique and helpful for Alper.
I was inspired to build Otsimo, a mobile education platform for children with special needs (especially Autism). After I’ve built 4 different fundamental games and saw my brother succeed in learning colors, banknotes, and how to read and write, I decided to make a lot more fun and educational games. Our first release was in April of 2016.
Right now Otsimo has 50+ more games which are specially developed for children with special needs, aligned with ABA therapy methodology. Every game in Otsimo is certified, built with pedagogues, and contains positive reinforcement. Also, Otsimo has free and open source AAC (a communication tool for the non-speaking).
Alper has learned lots of different things from these games, and used our AAC for learning new vocabulary. He’s learned literacy and colors and shapes. He learned how to talk and now knows how to read and write. He is not exhibiting any more problem behaviors. He is happier and more connected with his family.
Our most popular game is Fruit Vegetable and our most popular app is our free AAC.
With the help of Alper, our company has now touched more than 20,000+ children’s life less than 2 years.
Hasan Zafer Elcik is the co-founder of Otsimo. He credits his brother Alper for his career and desire to help children with special needs.