I’ve been taking a motivational course for entrepreneurs and during one of the modules, I received one of the most important, simple takeaways from any course or webinar I’ve taken during the pandemic: Don't forget the "WHY”. I find myself saying those words out loud and even my sleep! The “WHY” should be so simple, but yet it’s often easy to loose sight of. So the “WHY” is what my blog for the month of August will be about, even though today is September 1st!
I am an optimist, and I believe that if each of us can find our purpose and passion, we can help change the world. In the course that I am taking, our instructor, mentor, entrepreneur, and famous Shark, Daymond John briefly talks about a man named Simon Sinek, who is famous as a writer and Ted Talk personality who is a true optimist who believes that we have an ability to build a bright future ahead, and according to his Linkedin page, the WHY "is to inspire people to do what inspires them so that, together, each of us can change our world for the better." This simple statement is inspirational! So when I think about my WHY, I know exactly what it is and wrote it as my mission statement several years ago before I spoke at an Assisted Living Community in Connecticut: "Improving lives through the sense of smell." My HOW is to continuously find and create innovative ways scent can help people. It was a no-brainer that I would use my 30 years of experience as a professional "nose" combined with my personal experience as a daughter of someone with dementia to create Essential Awakenings® Smell and Memory kits and activities for seniors in memory care communities, because I knew that scent would help stimulate the sense of smell and bring back memories for seniors living with this debilitating disease. After giving more than 100 activity sessions to seniors in the tri-state area and elsewhere, I soon realized I had created a great vehicle for conversation and socialization, so I thought "what if?" What if scent could help people with learning disabilities and children who have speech communication impairments such as autism? If scents help people express themselves, why not try it? So MindScent® was born in 2019 after a year of designing and testing and an emptied bank account. All that was because of my passion to help people, but if you are asking yourself how MindScent® can help children, here is HOW as explained by a friend and retired Speech Pathologist and Audiologist, Susan Lemonier who helped guide me through the MindScent® development in 2018:
1) Exposure to the smells in MindScent® can stimulate thoughts that can emerge into full blown conversations and entertaining activities.
2) MindScent® smells can be stimuli for critical thinking and higher-level language activities
3) Social skills games, memory activities written or verbal languages samples and writing prompts can be enhanced using MindScent® smells
4) The kit can be used by teachers from preschool to high school to teach the olfactory system and sense of smell
5) The smells can be used in desensitization therapy or to alert and/or calm children who have sensory processing challenges
6) Teaching vocabulary
7) Presenting smells to guide storytelling
8) Use the clue cards in MindScent® for learning
9) Building rapport
10) Increase use of descriptions and expressive language skills
There are many more ways Speech Pathologists can use the kits for their patients, but sometimes it may just take a bit of imagination and creativity. Educators may find that MindScent® is also a good way to engage their students in a very unique exercise that can be fun and parents will discover that MindScent® a perfect vehicle as a family activity through playing guessing and trivia games with their children. What about the packaging and sanitary aspects of the kit? Do not to worry. I thought about that: I have packaged the smell prompts in roller balls, so there is no leaking or spilling, and there is no alcohol in the formulae. Remember, these are not perfumes, they are distinctive smell prompts like chocolate, grass, campfire and watermelon. The smell prompts are long lasting, easy to hold and to apply to the paper smelling strips in the kit.
I'll leave you with this last note: The sense of smell is the one function human beings have that is able to recall memories in a snap of a finger, and those memories will lead to conversation, and conversation leads to fun and enjoyment. MindScent® is the first multi-sensory kit in the world, and its purpose is just now being discovered. And that is my WHY, HOW, AND WHO. Have a great re-entry to school, and a wonderful September! Above all, stay safe and healthy!