The Lukas Tent Story
This is the story of 4 people with very different lives. Lando, Susan, Jamie and Melanie went to high school together, but after graduation they all took different paths. Nonetheless, they are making history right now.
Lando and Susan started building businesses together in 2008. These businesses were more construction related, but starting in 2014 they decided they wanted to do something completely different. They bought the domain name GoPortable.com in hopes to bring innovative products to the marketplace - mainly having to do with the camping and outdoor category with a big emphasis on portable shade and shelter units. Wanting to first practice selling online using Amazon's private sellers platform they immediately became a #1 best seller with a particular type of a beach tent. They began selling other products on Amazon, but now with the excitement of the Lukas Tent they have decided to finally open their own online store.
Jamie got married and had two sons. Their oldest son, Dominic, was diagnosed with autism in a time when the diagnoses were still very difficult to obtain. From infancy Dominic struggled with sensory processing - hypersensitivities. He is 25, just graduated from college, and continues to develop coping strategies for SPD in each new environment. For the past ten years Jamie has been a special education teacher for children on the autism spectrum from kindergarten to 5th grade. Jamie writes: “This classroom is my purpose in life, this is where I belong. I understand them, I speak their language, I know this is my calling.”
Melanie went through life raising a family of four with her son Lukas being the youngest. Lukas is a brave little boy who was diagnosed with terminal deletion 2q37.1 (https://globalgenes.org/raredaily/my-strong-little-man-lukas-and-family-cope-with-diagnosis-of-terminal-deletion-2q37-1/).
Melanie is a renowned sign language interpreter and also teaches special ed helping special needs children with hearing impairments.
During the summer of 2016 Jamie saw one of Lando’s and Susan’s tents being featured in a Facebook posting. She messaged Lando that she thought the tents would be great for children with sensory disorders. She specifically thought they would be great in her classroom. The tent would allow for a quiet space for the children to retreat to. At the same time Melanie messaged Lando about the tents and how she thought that her special ed students would love the tent for the same reason. Namely to create a safe and comforting space that was easy to open and move around.
Lando and Susan gladly donate two beach tents to each of their classrooms and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive!
Soon thereafter an idea came to Lando’s mind: What if we made a tent specifically designed for kids with sensory issues?
Lando, Susan, Melanie and Jamie immediately all agreed that this was potentially a great idea! Right away they created a group dialog in order to start sharing ideas of what they thought would make for a perfect sensory safe space for children - both at home and in a classroom environment.
The "Lukas Tent", (which is named after Melanie's son) was born!
“The Lukas tent is able to offer parents and families options to successfully travel with their child. And for classroom teachers - to create a sensory room, when there isn't an actual room in the building.
For me, I want families to have opportunities. I want them to go places and visit places they may not have otherwise gone for fear of a "meltdown" from sensory over stimulation. Even a visit out of town to grandma and grandpa's can be trying. It is new, it is different, it is strange, this is not my bed, this is not my place, and it does not smell like my things. To be able to quickly set up a "room" that meets all their sensory needs, it becomes a familiar space all his/her own, equipped specifically for the child and would relieve much of the anxiety when traveling with a sensory sensitive child.
“The Lukas tent is really a place many schools and families can utilize for these kids that just need to zone out. They cannot filter the noises and senses the way we do so an escape is the only answer. Some of our kids can be quite destructive if they are overloaded
As for traveling and family visits, I've had to really be creative with Lukas because he needs a quiet space when we go places. This tent is ideal for struggling families like mine. I don't have the finances to purchase a lot of the tools and items that are made for our kids. They are generally very very expensive.”
Lando and Susan say:
Our goals as designers and inventors is to make a quality, functional portable sensory room that is easy to use, affordable and meets the needs of these special children. Many products designed for children with special needs can be overpriced and somewhat impractical thus further burdening parents financially.
The Lukas Tent is a true innovation offering children a fast and effective calming environment whenever they need it.