Autism App Developers Compete at Autism Speaks Autism Investment Conference  | March 5, 2014 #AutisticHistory #StopBigAutism #AutismMarket

Autism Investment Conference

[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

Autism App Developers Compete at Autism Speaks Autism Investment Conference

Date: March 05, 2014

Autism app developers share tips for success and compete for $10,000 in prize money to develop life-enhancing digital tools

DELSIA President Daniel Smith and Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Rob Ring present a check for $10,000 to Tom Keating, CEO of Cognitopia, winner of the Autism Investment Conference Digital Apps PitchJam.

Today at the Autism Speaks Autism Investment Conference, app developers met to discuss tablet and smart phone applications designed to enhance communication, social skills and daily planning for individuals affected by autism.

“Today, the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ includes hundreds of apps designed to service those with autism and their loved ones,” said Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks associate director of public health research. “Today we will hear from those who have successfully developed and launched autism apps that are already making a difference in people’s lives. Then we’ll hear from some of the brightest up-and-coming developers for a first-of-its-kind autism apps PitchJam.”

Rosanoff co-moderated the session with educational app pioneer Rob Tedesco, co-founder and CEO of HandHold Adaptive. Since its founding in 1998, HandHold has received numerous Small Business Innovation Research Awards from the U.S. Department of Education to develop interactive visual learning tools for students. Its products include iPrompts, AutismTrack and StoryMaker. Rosanoff and Tedesco joined expert panelists Ankit Agarwal of SpecialNeedsWare, Lenny Greenberg of TapToTalk, and Marc Zimmerman of The Social Express to discuss successful strategies for app development.

Autism App PitchJam (Watch the full Autism Apps Pitchjam below.)

The panelists then served as judges for a “Shark Tank” style competition between five entrepreneurs developing apps that promise to improve the quality of life for individuals and families in the autism community. The prize: a $10,000 award from Autism Speaks’ nonprofit venture philanthropy affiliate, Delivering Scientific Innovation for Autism (DELSIA).

“This PitchJam award from DELSIA is an investment aimed at catalyzing science and technology entrepreneurship in the autism space and contributing to important product development activities for the winning company,” said DELSIA President Daniel Smith. Dr. Smith is also Autism Speaks senior director for discovery neuroscience. 

Each contestant had four minutes to pitch their applications, followed by four minutes to answer panelist questions. 

Birdhouse’s Ben Chutz

Birdhouse for Autism co-founder Ben Chutz described how parents can use Birdhouse to track a child’s sleep cycles, help identify meltdown triggers, organize medications and supplements, track symptoms, record notes from therapy sessions and improve parent-teacher communication.

iTherapy’s Lois Brady and Matthew Guggemos

iTherapy co-owner Lois Brady described the firm’s InnerVoice platform as “the next generation of augmentative and alternative communication apps.” Designed by a speech pathologist, InnerVoice provides button-activated speech generation for individuals who have speaking challenges. It also incorporates video self-monitoring exercises that improve speech, communication and social skills.

Autismsees founder Danielle Feerst and her partner Devika Patel

AutismSees founder Danielle Feerst and partner Devika Patel showcased iPresentWell. They called their mobile application the world’s first public speaking iOS application to integrate speech-to-text software, an iPad camera and a virtual audience. The inspiration for AutismSees was the design of an iPad app for higher functioning individuals that will increase eye contact, assist speech making and presentation skills and provide visual and auditory feedback.

Interactable founder Allison Deugenio

InteractAble founder Allison D’Eugenio described her group’s interactive social skills game for children with autism. The video game leads children through a variety of social situations and encourages decision making while reinforcing interpersonal skills such as face reading and personal management skills such as calming strategies.

Cognitopia Software CEO Tom Keating

Cognitopia Software CEO Tom Keating, the competition’s eventual winner, pitched his company’s new app ScanDo! The app allow visually oriented individuals with cognitive challenges to scan the bar code or QR code on a product such as a microwave dinner and receive simple video instructions for using it. 

At the end of the session, the judges withdrew to make their selections, leaving the competitors in suspense until Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Rob Ring and DELSIA President Dan Smith announced the winner at the conference’s close.

More With Autism Investment Conference


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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