Gerin Gaskin, Casey Hoffman, Jim Turner – Aiko & Egor: Animation 4 Autism (See Beneath, Inc.)

In 2010 and 2011 when we were working at the UCSD Autism Intervention Program, we learned from many families that there was a need for more tools designed specifically for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families. Thus, we founded See Beneath, Inc. and embarked on our mission to engage and educate children with ASD by creating and providing innovative tools that foster positive change and help children reach developmental milestones. We developed the Aiko & Egor: Animation 4 Autism app that includes engaging animated content and opportunities for learning. We are excited for the opportunity to create more interactive and educational games to add to our diverse set of tools within the app.

While working directly with hundreds of children with ASD and their families, we’ve learned the critical power of early intervention. All children diagnosed with ASD have a wide variety of strengths and development areas, thus we need more tools like Aiko & Egor to ensure there is a large diversity of tools that include evidence-based principles at the disposal of families. In addition, co-founder Gerin Gaskin has seen first-hand the journey her family has been on to care for her older brother who is diagnosed with ASD. As a result of our work and familial connections in terms of loving and caring for children and individuals with ASD, we understand the challenges that come with an ASD diagnosis. We are happy to call ourselves one of many partners to support families through this process, while simultaneously providing tools to help families engage with their children.

The initial TPP seed grant made a significant impact on our agency, See Beneath, Inc. because the funding was pivotal to help us develop our app, Aiko & Egor: Animation 4 Autism. Creating this interactive app required several dedicated and talented volunteers, hundreds of hours of work, and support from our partner app company, Agicent Technologies, who supported us at a discounted rate. The initial seed grant was a dream come true because it helped us create the our app and we are grateful that the funders at TPP believed in our nonprofit and our vision for children with ASD and their loved ones.

We are thrilled to continue our work and expand the resources within our app. We are getting lots of helpful feedback from parents and educators and we are looking forward to creating additional tools to support children with ASD. Specifically, we are excited to create additional games because parents have reported that children enjoy playing the games and children learn while playing the games. We are very happy to create more tools that incorporate evidence-based principles for both Android and iOS devices to help children and the people who love and care for children with ASD.

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