The Scent Guru’s Mindscent: Enabling People with Autism to Communicate Better

Ruth Sutcliffe — The Scent Guru, and creator of the original Essential Awakenings® Smell and Memory Activity Tool Kits, has launched of her new creation, Mindscent®. Sutcliffe’s desire to combine her extensive training in fragrance development and her wish to contribute her knowledge to those suffering from neurobiological disorders, has developed a multi-sensory, educational product that includes a collection of distinguishable smell prompts, visual clue and fact cards to encourage engagement for people who face hurdles communicating.  Mindscent® has also been designed to be an educational tool for children with autism helping them communicate better while using their sense of smell.

After losing her mother to dementia-related causes in 2016, Sutcliffe decided to merge her profession with her desire to support those who were suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s by creating Essential Awakenings® Smell and Memory Activity Tool Kits. While giving smelling sessions to seniors in Memory Care communities, she realized that what she had also created was an innovative communication tool that enabled seniors to engage in communication and storytelling through her smell prompts, and encouraged her to extend her product to create Mindscent®. 

“Mindscent is designed to be a communication tool that includes 20 distinguishable smell prompts, visual clue cards and facts! Mindscent has been a labour of love, intended to help children with Autism and other speech impairments communicate easier through the smell prompts,” Sutcliffe told us.

Retired Speech Pathologist Susan Laraja-Lemonier – who is a friend of Sutcliffe’s, and others helped by using the prototypes in their practice and giving feedback which allowed her to develop a breakthrough tool for professionals in their work. Senses help us explore and comprehend our world: sight, touch, hearing, smelling and tasting. There is a renaissance of research indicating a very strong connection between the sense of smell and memory. The Essential Smells included in the Mindset® kit are stimuli, that, when added to toolkits for learning, help children discover the world around them.  Smells create memories. Memories foster conversations. Conversations develop connections and connections create fun!

Mindscent® toolkit usage is not only limited to those who face difficulty in communication, but also can be used by therapists, teachers, families and the public in general, to explore the sense of smell:

  • Making connections with loved ones through conversation and engagement
  • Establishing rapport
  • Stimulating appetite
  • Teaching vocabulary
  • Strengthening memory
  • Reteaching the sense of smell to the neurologically disordered
  • Presenting smells during coma therapy to induce arousal
  • Learning for the homebound who have limited experiences

Included within each Mindscent® Kit are 20 Essential Smells©, Visual Clue and Fact Cards (For example: Apples contain high levels of boron which increases mental awareness) and 2  packets of 100 paper smelling strips each for application.

As a True Blue Champion of Autism Speaks, Sutcliffe has pledged to direct 10% of all her 2019 on-line sales to the non-profit for their work in increasing global understanding and acceptance of the disorder.

The Scent Guru Group is an organization that focuses on products pertaining to the importance the sense of smell has as a valuable tool in our lives. Mindscent® is a new multi-sensory toolkit offered by The Scent Guru Group primarily to support people with autism to communicate better.

Follow Ruth on Instagram @scentguruculture

For more information, visit

Christine Schott Ledes
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