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Zafer Elcik
Elif Karaduman

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Otsimo is democratizing access to special education & speech therapy through its leading game-based learning apps.


Ankara, Turkey
In the US alone, the CDC identifies one in 68 children as diagnosed on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Otsimo is democratizing access to special education & speech therapy through its leading game-based learning apps, teaching children core skills vital to cognitive and behavioral development. Its direct-to- family model makes it affordable, accessible and easy-to-use.

Democratizing the special education

Carola E. - Autism Mom
“Otsimo is a godsend for me and my child—with school out of session, I can’t afford ABA therapy over summer, so it’s a relief knowing that I can continue my child’s education using the family iPad.”

Carola E. - Autism Mom

"We believe that education is a basic human right and are determined to improve our work until proper special education is available and accessible to each and every household in need."
- Zafer Elcik, Co-founder of Otsimo, Ashoka Fellow, from his TEDx Talk

Read Zafer's story:

Zafer's Brother Alper
Meeting With Autism
My brother was diagnosed with severe autism when he was 2 years old. I was 10 back then. He had been non-verbal and unable to read for a long time. I remember those days when we wanted him to speak a word.

Alper & Zafer
Discovering the potential
He was having a hard time focusing and learning. But when I bought my first smartphone, I realized my brother has a special interest in smart devices, about 10 times longer than his usual attention to his surroundings. After that, I bought him an iPad as a gift.

Lack of a proper solution
Then I noticed a problem. There weren’t suitably designed applications for children with disabilities like his. Some apps were too expensive, and the games were very difficult for him. Because of that, he could play only a few apps, some of which included ads that can be harmful to him.

Zafer & Sercan(cofounder)
...and taking the initiative
So with my close friend, we decided to build a basic color game to teach colors to my brother. In a relatively short period of time, he became able to distinguish the colors. His interest and success inspired us to build games for every child who can benefit from them, and we created Otsimo, a mobile education platform for children with disabilities.

Our Apps:

 Otsimo Special Education is uniquely democratizing access to special education internationally with a direct-to-family approach that is affordable, accessible, efficient and, best of all, simple. Designed to empower and engage children with developmental disabilities—such as autism, down syndrome and other cognitive learning disorders—Otsimo enables any mobile device to become a platform for learning. The app allows children with special needs to develop core cognitive, social and speech skills through gamification.

Created under the guidance of parents, psychologists and special education teachers; assistive games in Otsimo aim to teach fundamental education about core skills such as words, alphabet, numbers, emotions, colors, animals and vehicles through assistive matching, drawing, choosing, ordering and sound games. For individuals or children having speech problem, Otsimo has free AAC which often is used in speech therapy, autism communication or special education schools. If you want your nonverbal relative/student with autism speaks, free AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) is a proven effective learning tool to have a better speech and to communicate better.

Download for iOS | Download for Android

 Otsimo Speech Therapy is a voice-controlled and video modeling-based language and speech therapy app. Individuals with speech delays, stuttering, apraxia, non-verbal autism, articulation problems, aphasia, and late talkers can easily use the app for their language and speech development.

In each category, relevant words are spoken on the screen in a systematic way to stimulate sound production. Funny face mask rewards at the end of the sessions boost the speech therapy efforts while keeping the individual entertained. Moreover, there are plenty of stickers dedicated to each exercise activity to be collected once the session is completed. Voice outputs from the individuals are evaluated anonymously by a machine learning environment within the app to provide a better and unique speech exercise experience.

Download for iOS | Download for Android

for more check it out:

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Innovation Overview
1 - 18
Age Group
100 000
1 571
Tips for implementation
You can directly download Otsimo via App Store or Play Store and use it in home or classroom!
Contact information
Zafer Elcik
Elif Karaduman
HundrED Review
The range of content within these apps is fantastic and clearly helps special education children and their families. Otsimo ensures that families can work together at the pace of their child to improve oral competencies.

See this innovation in action

Otsimo Testimonials
Pioneers of Special Education in Turkey (Otsimo's Case Study)
Otsimo's Story | TEDx Talk (with English Subtitles)
Otsimo's State of Autism Acceptance Report in United States
Zafer Elcik
Otsimo (@otsimoapp) • Instagram photos and videos
How brotherly love led to an app to help thousands of autistic children | Otsimo @BBCNews
Otsimo Speech Therapy!
Otsimo product is used by governmental schools in Turkey:


Achievements & Awards


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