MadRat Games launches Autista, an app for kids with Autism

AutismMadRat Games is a Bangalore-based games brand that makes board games for kids and has also ventured into online games. The company was founded by Rajat and Madhumita Dhariwal (husband and wife), and Manuj Dhariwal. In a recent development, the company has come up with an iPad app for Autistic kids, called Autista.

The development process

The app has been under development for more than a year. “We’ve worked with some of the best people in the space like Professor Matthew Belmonte of Cornell University and Dr. Pratibha Karanath of Communication DEALL,” says Rajat. The team has worked very closely with the Autism Center in Bangalore and developed the app after spending a lot of time with the kids.

“The first step was to understand the requirements and come out with the paper demos, post which the concept was translated online,” says Rajat. With Autista, the core focus is on long term learning and not instant communication. The iPad was chosen because it has proven to be the most intuitive device for learning.

The app has the following features:

‘Speak’ mode to help in verbalizing
‘Type’ mode to teach keyboard typing
‘Play’ mode to join parts for motor skills

Distribution and pricing

The app has received support from organizations like the Communication DEALL. “The app is free to download but has in-app purchases and this is mainly because if things are kept completely free, it loses its seriousness,” says Rajat. There are other apps in this space and most of them come from companies in the West, but Avaz is an Indian app which is also one of the winners of Mobilesparks. Most of the apps in this space are placed at over $100.

An impactful app, Autista will be used by families as well as organizations to help children with verbal and fine motor skills. There are around 10 million children in India (70 million worldwide) suffering from this disorder and a lot needs to be done to help them.

autista

More about MadRat Games

Founded in 2010, MadRat has developed and gone on to sell more than one lakh board game boxes across India. Aksharit shot them to fame and the company also went on to raise funding from Blume Ventures and FirstLight Ventures in 2012.

Based out of Bangalore, it has formed a supply chain and is a key player in the Indian games industry. MadRat also has a few games online (Word Matki and Aksharit) and is now pushing more. The key focus remains on designing stimulating games.

We’ve also covered MadRat Games in our Fabulous Startup Workplaces series, have a look at this video:


Jubin Mehta

Jubin Mehta

Jubin is an old timer at YourStory. Deeply entrenched in the Indian startup ecosystem, he has written about more than 1000 startups. With an engineering background and a keen interest in data analysis, his passion for writing and entrepreneurship makes him a perfect match for Yourstory. He operates from the mountains in Dharamshala where he also runs a hackbase. He can be reached on Twitter @jub_in and on mail at jubin@yourstory.com