None of us can deny the fact that there is potential in all of us. With the proper support, guidance and mentoring, even a specially-abled individual can shine. Manu Sekar, a Chennai resident, felt the need to address the Neurodiversity. Hence, he founded HashHackCode, an Edtech Startup that teaches coding to adults and teens with different cognitive abilities.
Manu Sekar believes that with the right kind of support, individuals with Autism can achieve a successful career in Tech. He worked to break barriers for marginalized women and social workers by teaching them computer programming. Moreover, he helped senior citizens use gadgets and smartphones.
Path to HashHackCode
It all started in 2019 when Manu Sekar received a client’s special request to teach computer programming and coding to her autistic daughter. Manu admits that he was not ready and prepared for the challenge. Then, he realized the need to break the barriers for all specially-abled individuals.
According to Manu, people with special needs do not require funds or charity from CSR for sympathy or temporary activities. They cannot make it to the mainstream workforce or professional education. Even they have hidden potential, and with technology, they can break barriers. They just needed a computer and an internet connection.
As a result, In April 2019, Manu started HashHackCode to address the Neurodiversity and bring change in the IT sector.
Why Programming Skills for Individuals with Special Needs?
For programming, one needs to understand both logic and the sequence to approach it. But the way of the understanding those logics differs in every individual. Moreover, it’s not necessarily that the time taken is the same in every case. Most importantly, individuals with special needs require more empathy and patience.
The qualities of individuals with Autism can turn out as an asset for programming. You see, such individuals have uncanny ability to remember and recognize the complex patterns. They also have the ability of intense attention to details and affinity for repetition. Hence, coding and its output build a great confidence level in them, resulting in the sense of pride.
Many individuals with Autism are full of contradictions, they follow the rules but finally comes up with revolutionary new ideas. Similarly, all individuals with special needs can benefit themselves with programming skills.
The Course Structure of HashHackCode
Induction, Foundation and Specialisation are the three stages of course designed in HashHackCode. The purpose of the course is to combine programming and art. This kind of curriculum focuses not only on teaching the principles of programming but also on how to use and express themselves through it.
Firstly, in the Induction stage, individuals get to know the introduction of the coding world. This step is mainly done through the fun and interactive session to groove and instil a sense of curiosity. Secondly, they delve into the core of programming in the Foundation course. Here they grasp the fundamentals with code challenges. This step results in helping them visualize the output. Finally, in the Specialization stage, they specialize in their area of interest, which they identified in the Foundation Stage.
After an in-depth analysis, it’s clear that every individual with Autism is different. Hence, each stage’s customizations suit the individual’s ability and needs after an initial assessment. This Edtech Startup in India helped young adults with Autism to design their own logos.
Passionate Code Mentors at HashHackCode
The trainers at HashHackCode are passionate teachers who believe that every individual can reach their full potential. What they need is proper support and guidance in the right direction. These code mentors empower a particular community in the most real sense and promise to provide good education.
You’ll be surprised to know that HashHackCode offers code mentors post based on values the startup stands for. So even if you don’t have paper qualifications or you are not programming expertise, you can go ahead and join the startup.
HashHackCode Dealing with COVID
During the lockdown, HashHackCode took its classes online. They hired young graduates and college students to train the students. They launched a fellowship programme post-covid, they select two to four students every month to teach coding.
According to Manu, In addition to their permanent mentors, the hired students can interact with differently-abled and encourage peer-to-peer learning. They are learning comfortably in their own houses. Moreover, they enhanced their abilities seeing someone of their age.
RisingStars Project to help neuro-diverse individuals
With RisingStars Project HashHackCode is helping neuro-diverse individuals gain exposure to working with a team and companies. This step is to foster a supportive work culture dedicated to neurodiverse individuals.
The programme helps neuro-diverse individuals to work on mini-tasks with companies for a short duration. This duration is between 2 to 12 weeks. They can get hands-on experience working as an inclusive employer with companies.
RisingStars Project to help neuro-diverse individuals
Unlocking the hidden potential in specially-abled individuals could help create an inclusive society. Thus,
HashHackCode is inspiring to build the next generation of coders with the specially-abled.