These toys come with an evidence-based play plan, created by a team of psychologists, early childhood educators and special needs teachers
Hyderabad: Toys are children’s best friends and they impart imagination and memories in them. While there are many kinds of playing material in the market for kids of various age groups, there are not many options for children who are neurodivergent, a term often used to describe a variety of conditions related to cognitive abilities.
Of the available toys, while some do not meet the safety requirements, others are not developmentally appropriate and then there are others that are simply not fun. Stepping-in to fill this gap are Anam Zaidi and Hassan Ali, a Canada-based Hyderabad couple, whose product Hap-ally is helping several neurodivergent kids to have fun with smart toys every month.
“Our aim is to stretch play to make it last longer, be fun and therapeutic, and be used in multiple ways,” shares Hassan, adding, “Hap-ally boxes are meant to increase fun and enjoyment for all. Play benefits include social skills, confidence, cognitive benefits, improved concentration, control and improve language skills.”
Every month specially curated boxes are delivered by Hap-ally at the doorsteps of kids. Each box contains six toys that cater to sensory and social emotional development of the child. They are fun toys that are in a way therapeutic. Along with the toys comes an evidence-based play plan, which is a curriculum created by a team of psychologists, early childhood educators and special needs teachers.
Sharing their idea behind the start-up, Anam, who is a psychologist by profession, says, “since outdoor play has been severely restricted due to the pandemic, we wanted to create something that keeps the child engaged, adds to their learning and provides and outlet for parent-child bond to strengthen.”
Hassan and Anam moved to Canada at the peak of the pandemic. Hence, they totally relied on digital marketing to reach out to the clients.
“Parents of neurodivergent children are our main clients. It’s tough to start a business with no network. But we believed that our product would be strong enough to reach parents across North America and it did. Our client numbers are only increasing,” shares Aman.
The couple is now planning to expand their market. “Our first stage plan is to get enough profit so each hap-ally box can sponsor a box for a child in need in India and help train educators towards inclusive play therapy and social-emotional learning,” Hassan concludes.
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