TL;DR: I am working with a team of members of the Junior Academy to create a smart home system that helps children with autism sleep on their own using an essential oil diffuser and sleep monitoring devices. My team and I would love to hear feedback from parents and caregivers of children with autism on our idea.

Hi everyone,

Hope all is well! My name is Linda, and I’m a member of The Junior Academy (, a program for high school students around the world to collaborate and solve real-world problems. I live in the US, and I’m currently working with four other girls from Kenya, Sweden, and the US to design a smart home system to be placed in the homes of children with autism. We are mentored by Dr. NseAbasi Etim, a lecturer at Akwa Ibom State University in Nigeria.

Since we are aware that many children with autism have trouble falling asleep, which causes issues for the child’s family and the child themselves, we wanted to create a solution for this problem using diffused essential oils in a smart home system to help children sleep, all without the direct interference of caregivers during the night. This would help improve sleep for all members of the household.

Our solution is to place a smart diffuser of melatonin-promoting essential oils, such as lavender and cedarwood, in the child’s bedroom. A wearable wrist watch and sleep monitors in the child’s mattress will track and record the child’s sleeping patterns. If the child is detected to be awake for a long time, then the diffuser will diffuse a set amount of essential oil into the child’s bedroom. This amount is predetermined and set by an app on the phones of the caregivers and doctors of the child.

The sleep monitoring devices will also send records of sleep data to the caregivers’ app, which can be reviewed by them and doctors to diagnose and treat the children for issues, as well as see for any negative impacts of the sleep aid. Also, a camera will be placed in the child’s bedroom that can be viewed from the app.

Here is a link to a Google Drawing outline of our design, if you would like to see:

We are still in the midst of our finalizing process of the design. We would love to hear feedback from parents and caregivers of autistic children in order to help improve our solution where needed.

We would very much appreciate hearing any feedback on our design. If anyone has any suggestions, such as useful things we can add to the design, or any safety concerns, please feel free to post them below. Any personal experiences with essential oils (especially ones other than lavender and cedarwood, as these are not readily available in some parts of the world) and sleep are also welcomed and would be great. Lastly, we would love to hear how real-life caregivers of autistic children might find a system like ours applied in their own homes, and how useful and effective it might be.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you so much for reading and considering our idea!

Linda, Ivy, Devisi, Kate, and Selma