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WonderTree: A Pakistani startup that is specifically designed for ‘special children’

WonderTree is a Pakistani startup from Karachi that develops interactive games for children with special needs. The purpose of these games is to make education and therapy pleasant and effective. In addition, these games also feature a reporting system which monitors the overall progress of the children.

Team and the idea

Muhammed Usman is the co-founder and CTO of WonderTree which was founded in 2015. Usman’s elder brother (born with special needs) was the reason behind this startup. One day, Usman noticed that his brother was enjoying while playing a game on his PlayStation and this is when the journey started. He said:

“It was then when all the dots connected and I realized what I wanted to do”

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Game development

At present, the startup has developed 4 games that are suited exclusively for children with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADHD, and other mental disabilities. The development was made possible after the startup worked diligently with special education teachers, occupational therapists and psychologists.

The hardware requirements to play the game are only kinect v2 sensor, a television and a laptop. The technology of WonderTree helps in developing motor along with cognitive and functional skills for children with learning disabilities. One of the key features of the games is an in-built reporting system. It assists the developers in tracking and document the performance of each and every child.

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Besides all these developments, the startup has also collaborated with Rangoonwala Special School and Special Olympics Pakistan last year. The idea behind the collaboration was that the startup technology was tested by athletes and special needs students. Moreover, WonderTree is currently in talks with 7 other schools for a possible partnership so that the effectiveness of its games can be evaluated.

Moving forward

While speaking about the upcoming plans of WonderTree, Usman stated:

“We’re working on ways of using this data to build AI (artificial intelligence) into our games. So in the future; our games will be able to adjust the difficulty levels and other settings as per the child’s needs, progress and disability. This will make our games highly efficient. We are really excited about this”

CEO of WonderTree, Muhammed Waqas stated:

“We are also collaborating with the Institute of Professional Psychology (IPP) for feedback and improvement on our games”

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He further stated that the startup has partnered with Network of Organizations Working with People with Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP) where the company will assess the startup technology. Speaking about the availability of the games, Waqas said:

“Our team is small, but we’re working hard to make our games available and accessible to everyone. Very soon our games will be available for download through our website or through the Windows store. So anyone with a laptop, a kinect sensor (which can be bought from stores or ordered online) and an internet connection can download our games that benefit special children”

The startup is currently in its beta stage. However, the team is certain about the future and they hope to redefine special education in Pakistan on a large scale. Additionally, WonderTree is also focused on decreasing the hardware requirement to increase affordability. Waqas said:

“We know that the prerequisite hardware is not cheap, but it’s still a better solution compared to the unavailability of trained psychologists, special educators and therapists in Pakistan”

Do you think WonderTree will give new dimension to learning to children with special needs?

Source: Forbes

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