A 13-year-old boy with an autism spectrum disorder took brushes and started painting to help those struggling with a similar diagnosis.
Damir Golovenko, a 13-year-old artist with autism, decided to help his mother, Svetlana, who developed a methodology for the socialization of children with ASD. At the age of 3, Damir was diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder; the boy did not speak and had little communication with the outside world. Svetlana has visited many thresholds in search of help but has never found a tool that would fit their case; she decided to study the problem of autism herself. As a result, Svetlana managed to develop her methodology. Thanks to this method, Damir studies in a regular school, speaks four languages, creates paintings, leads an active social life and is ready to help other people with autism. The unique author’s program of Svetlana Golovenko, based on the study of a massive amount of material related to autism and in cooperation with specialists in this field, helped 85 children already.
– Svetlana, how did you come up with the idea of creating a virtual assistant?
– The idea did not come up immediately. First, mothers of children with special needs approached me asking to share my experience in the socialization of Damir. And I was happy to help, but when the number of people began to increase, it became clear that I could not physically help everyone on my own. One of the parents once came for advice and jokingly said: «Sveta, you need to be cloned!» We laughed and forgot about it. A week later, he returned with a technical solution on how to do it. Then the artist drew how I see this character, and the idea transformed into the project. We named our virtual assistant Bugaddy.
– How will Bugaddy help people with ASD?
– It is like a kit with multimedia plots, which creates an individual story for each child. Through the game, the child gains new knowledge, receives information and communication skills. In the future, with the help of artificial intelligence, Bugaddy will become a full-fledged interlocutor for every child with ASD.
– It must be challenging to work with special children?
– No. They are often like a box with a riddle; if you find the key, you will discover an incredible treasure. When you see how a girl who did not react to the world around her and only played with a string takes the first steps in rhythmic gymnastics, it gives you strength and the desire to move on.
– What specifications are you planning to build in Bugaddy?
– Technologies are rapidly moving forward, and we are trying to keep up with them. At first, the child will play with Bugaddy on their own; in the future, the mother will be able to allow her virtual assistant to connect to Bugaddy on other children’s mobile devices, and they will build a joint game and communication. We are confident that we will be able to relieve parents and teachers. With Bugaddy, we are taking a course to help with the inclusion of children with ASD, which has been implemented in various countries, and that is why we need working tools.
– The Bugaddy application is currently under development, and a project of this magnitude requires considerable resources. What kind of help do you get?
– To give life to such a necessary and large project requires a sufficient amount of funds. Damir really wanted to help, and at his suggestion, we created the charity organization Autstraction. This is an art platform where artists with ASD can exhibit their paintings, sell them, and earn money.
For many people with ASD, this can become a profession and a comfortable way to communicate with the world. Damir provided his paintings for sale, and all the funds received will be used for the development of Bugaddy.
Now we are working on the presentation and creation of collections for seven more artists with autism. Soon you will see their paintings on the Autstraction art platform.
We have opened a new development in Autstraction and now accept any drawings of children with autism. More precisely, photos of children’s drawings that we plan to display on the Open Sea digital platform in NFT (non-fungible tokens). The original work remains with the child.
We are always looking for artists and talented people with autism. Each person with ASD is unique, and our task is to create comfortable conditions for them to find fulfilment.
– How can each interested person help in the development of Bugaddy?
– Assistance in social projects is significant. We will be grateful if you follow us on social media and share the information or recommend us to those who, in your opinion, need such a virtual assistant as Bugaddy. We look forward to working with foundations, influencers, individuals, organizations, and philanthropists.
People who are not indifferent to the problem of autism can make donations on the page of the art platform www.autstraction.com.
Any help is now vital and necessary. I am sure that all together, we can make the world more comfortable for people with an autism spectrum disorder.
For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Link for donations: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=T3PYXVCSCPR8U
The article was prepared by Kristina Bulbule.