Unique online platform supports kids with SPD
16 Apr 2017 - 11:32
By Fazeena Saleem | The Peninsula
Alison Saraf and Raana Smith, residents of Doha, recently launched ‘Sensory Souk’, a unique online platform, as a tribute to their children. Sensory Souk focuses on products to help address challenges faced by children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) mainly due to Autism.
SensorySouk.com provides a wide range of sensory support products as well as authentic information to help parents and caregivers of children with SPD, a condition in which the brain has trouble interpreting information from the senses.
The idea of establishing SensorySouk.com hit the minds of Alison and Raana as they met at the Child Development Center (CDC), while taking their sons for therapy.
They discussed on numerous occasions about SPD, their sons and the details of their therapy. Raana once loaned Alison a kids book about a child with SPD. They were very excited about it and discussed where it was purchased and how tricky it was to find good, quality resources here in Qatar. They also wanted to share what they had learned on their journey and help to empower other families. One day It just came together and turned it into a business.
“SensorySouk.com is unique. There really isn’t anything in the market that has been started by moms of special needs kids and offers the array of products that we do. We are doing this as a tribute to our children. It’s a labour of love, built with quality and care to give other parents what they need. The info we share is accurate, useful and accessible to all. We share the things we found useful and think other parents and caregivers can benefit from,” Raana Smith Co- founder and managing director of SensorySouk told The Peninsula.
“We know that sourcing support aids can be difficult in the region and so providing an online market place for sensory aids was really a way to support this network,” she added.
The platform provides a range of must have therapy tools to support a community of sensational children and their families in Qatar as well as in the GCC region.
“All children on the autism spectrum suffer from sensory issues and our website focuses on products to help address those issues specifically. We offer both professional therapy tools and toys to help children organize, self-regulate, play and extend their therapy learning at home,” said Raana.
Referring to the selection of products available she said, “First, as parents of Special Needs children, we have a good understanding of what kinds of products provide the best sensory support. We have taken our own experiences and worked with other parents, therapists, and children to identify product lines to address specific sensory needs. We are constantly working with schools, Special Needs centres and our parent network to ensure our product range is as comprehensive as possible, however, as we are always learning about new products, if someone needs something that’s not on the site, please contact us and we will do our best to source it for you.
The Sensory Souk offers varies categories of tools such as therapy toys including books, games, musical instruments and puzzles. Education support tools include products which could help in handwriting, colouring and in numeracy. It also has a collection of tools important to be used at school and develop speech and language skills.
However, Sensory Souk is not just a market place but also aims at serving the community through educating and helping parents with useful information on autism and SPD related issues.
“We hope SensorySouk will be a service to the community. Our goal is to ‘Pay it forward,’ share what we’ve learned and empower like-minded parents as much as we can through knowledge, access to resources, and activities for their children,” said Raana.
Although it’s a new initiative Raana says the response from the community has been overwhelming.
“We’ve had so much encouraging and positive feedback which we are incredibly grateful for. We strive to be a service to our community,” she said.
Products at Sensory Souk can be purchased online and will be shipped to the door step. Deliveries are made Sunday through Thursday and all orders are shipped from their warehouse in Doha. They offer a next-day, local delivery service within Qatar and within three days to Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE.