Stimulating the mind of children with Down Syndrome thanks to a therapeutic game

Animal Hero helps children strengthen cognitive capabilities such as memory, sustained and divided attention and executive functions.

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Animal Hero helps children strengthen cognitive capabilities such as memory, sustained and divided attention and executive functions. To continue growing, it has launched a crowdfunding campaign.


Professor Óscar García Panella and his students Silvia Quera, Yolanda Peregrín and Alba Bosacoma, created a therapeutic videogame project in 2014 called Animal Hero for children from 8 years of age with Down Syndrome.

Animal Hero was born after learning the conclusions of a scientific investigation carried out by Mara Dierssen Sotos, which relates green tea extract with the cognitive stimulus. With the first testing phase we realized that children got bored with the usual stimulus because they believed that they were doing homework”, explains Quera, Project Manager of the project.

At this moment, her professor García Panella got involved with the idea and suggested his students look for a fun and entertaining way of stimulating the minds of children with Down Syndrome.

Such was its welcome and hope for the future that in 2017 it was selected to participate in the Program Explorer, Jóvenes con Ideas which is promoted by Banco Santander and Centro Internacional Santander Emprendimiento.

Now, to go on growing and finish developing the first high quality videogame, they have launched a crowdfunding campaign. “We want to offer the best and devote all our time to this project. Our resources are limited and we need aid and support from the community to make this dream come true. For this reason, we decided to launch this campaign”, Quera said.

To date, almost 3,000 euros have been collected and they hope to reach 15,000 euros at the end of the campaign. Donations can be made through the Kickstarter platform for the amount of 10 to 2,000 euros. Depending of the amount donated, there will be more or less compensation when the product comes to light.

The need for business training

After creating the first pilot videogame in 2014 and checking that it received very good reviews, after finishing university, Silvia, Yolanda and Alba were sure that they wanted to work with Animal Hero. However, they were aware that they needed specific aid to be trained in the business world to build a business plan and a strategy.

They were trained thanks to the Program Explorer of Banco Santander. Specifically, they received mentoring lessons during five months within the Explorer Space of Universidad de Girona. “They helped and trained us very well. Thanks to it, Animal Hero is still alive and we won prizes and grants such as the Grant Disfruta de Calidad Pascual of 20,000 euros. It was high because Animal Hero won among a total of 800 projects”, Silvia said. Thanks to this prize, they remade the prototype of the videogame demo.

The goal of Banco Santander, through its Program Explorer, Jóvenes con Ideas, is to recognize the effort and talent of the most brilliant young entrepreneurs

As a part of her training and thanks to Explorer, Silvia travelled in 2017 to Silicon Valley, the center of entrepreneurship, as a representative of her team.

It was an amazing experience; it is another world. We went to Facebook, Google and the big technological companies, these ones that you think are faraway. I enjoyed the people a lot, but the most important thing I learned about is that, if something fails, it doesn’t matter. Here we manage it worse because we would try to conceal the mistakes or failures. There it doesn’t work that way: if you fail in Silicon Valley and you try it again, you are not a loser, but a businessman and an entrepreneur with momentum”, she said.

Among other things, Silvia Quera also values the social component of traveling and the importance of meeting other young people just like her with the same desires and ideas that can even contribute to improving the projects of the other participants.

Explorer has already aided more than 6,000 young people

The goal of Banco Santander, through its Program Explorer, Jóvenes con Ideas, is to recognize the effort and talent of the most brilliant young entrepreneurs.

During its nine years of existence, more than 6,000 have benefited and more than 600 companies have been created, and in 2019 around 1,812 university students have been trained and assessed.

Logically, this year, on October 30th, another 54 new entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley to immerse themselves in the innovating behavior of the best with the goal and dream that their projects and ideas turn into reality.

 

 

 

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