Improving social inclusion by fighting autism
- An interview with Sarah Cherruault, President and Founder of Auticiel
Sarah Cherruault, the President and Founder of Auticiel was always devout to improving the lives of those with cognitive and mental disabilities. After having worked with autistic children, she was deeply motivated to find a way to further improve their lives. With the help of a scientific committee and experts in the field of technology, she developed Auticiel. Auticiel uses technology, through developing sophisticated software to fight autism.
In 2013, they were officially a social enterprise, which is when they soon launched and deployed AMIKEO, a software packed with 10 applications adapted to people with cognitive and mental disabilities. The features and functionalities of AMIKEO is aimed at being engaging, personalized, practical and intuitive. Auticiel soon after, even created and launched their very own tablet to facilitate AMIKEO.
Auticiel’s mission is to improve the inclusion of people with cognitive and mental disabilities into society.
Auticiel has been growing at an exponential rate. “I was confronted with challenges every step of the way. From conceptualizing the idea and the product from 2011 to 2013, to developing a viable economic model from 2013 to 2015”, says Sarah. It was only after this phase Auticiel started to grow and gain recognition. In 2017, Auticiel raised over 1 million euros in funds. Although, just like most businesses in the world have been faced adverse effects from COVID-19, Auticiel is focused on their future.
In the near future with the funds they have raised over the years, Sarah and her team intend to tap into and improve their E-learning programme. In addition to this, they wish to engage parents more into the discussion and ongoing discourse of autism and even further increase lobbying for handicapped children.
In a very short time span, Auticiel has achieved a multitude of milestones. Currently, there are over 200,000 users in France, Canada and other parts of the world. They are also present in over 400 hospitals and institutions. The software is also now available in three different languages: French, English and Spanish. They have also won multiple awards and accolades including, Winner of the National Handicap and Innovation Competition, France, Winner of VT Knowledge Works Challenge, USA and being awarded "Good News of the Territory", MAAF Foundation to name a few.
“In 2013, we conducted a survey in which we asked the general public if whether they knew what autism is. Not a single person knew about it. Although, we have definitely come a long way with more awareness now than before.” Sarah’s dream is to achieve her mission. The importance of social inclusion is a must. She believes that it is important to stay grounded and. Sarah Cherruault and her team are on the path of hitting two birds with one stone: building new technologies and software for those with cognitive disabilities while making societies more socially equitable and inclusive.