A group of six college students from the University of Minnesota designed a backpack to fit the specific needs of children with autism. The group created this product as a part of their “Entrepreneurship in Action” class. The idea came from team member Will Radke who grew up in a foster home with many children with disabilities. He wanted to create a product that would help others. The backpack is called the Nesel Pack and is currently helping 75 children. The backpack design takes into account the fact that children with autism are more sensitive to light, sound and touch. The backpack can replace the weighted vest that children with autism wear to keep them at ease. Additionally, the backpack has hooks for different sensory tools to be attached, long straps that parents can hold on to, chest straps that feel like getting a hug and a place for an identification card or picture. The team launched a Kickstarter campaign in early March and raised $3500 over their $10,000 goal. They also teamed up with Fraser, a Minnesota based nonprofit company that provides services for children with autism. Fraser agreed to donate one backpack for every $100 donation. Although the backpacks are currently pricey, at $115 each, the team hopes to lower the cost once they reach $20,000 and can change manufacturers.
Donate to the Kickstarter campaign here