Autism Speaks is pleased to announce a preliminary lineup of entrepreneurs and industry leaders showcasing employment opportunities, gaming platforms and support services at its third annual Autism Investment Conference (AIC2015), in Boston March 10 and 11. These presenters join the previously announced participants pitching new products and services in autism therapeutics, assistive technology and diagnostics.
At each showcase session, presenters will pitch their ventures to an audience of potential financial backers. Each session will be followed by a panel discussion, with an emphasis on networking and brainstorming.
Showcase on Employment Opportunities
This session will spotlight companies and business models that capitalize on the strengths of employees on the autism spectrum. Presenters will discuss how this approach has enabled their businesses to gain productivity and a competitive edge in their markets. Showcase presenters will include:
Rajesh Anandan, co-founder of ULTRA Testing, will share the successful business model that ULTRA has brought to software testing with teams that include individuals on the autism spectrum.
Dave Friedman, founder and chief executive officer of AutonomyWorks, will describe how his company hires, trains and manages employees with autism to deliver marketing operations services.
James Emmett, of James Emmett Consulting and the Poses Family Foundation, is a national leader in the development of employment services for people with autism and other disabilities. He will share what he has learned from disability and inclusion projects involving such major corporations as Walgreens, Best Buy, Office Depot/Max, TIAA-CREF, PepsiCo and UPS.
Gerry Maurer, chief executive officer at Birch Family Services, will showcase how the agency develops programs and services that address the evolving needs of adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Showcase Session on Gaming Platforms
New to AIC2015, this session will spotlight the emergence of electronic games as an innovative approach to developing the strengths and addressing the challenges faced by individuals with autism. Presenters will include:
Cuong Do, co-founder of Identifor, will pitch his company’s game-based website and app designed to help individuals and families identify abilities and motivations. (See image above.)
Katie Hench, chief executive officer of Infiniteach, will showcase her company’s approach to improving autism education through technology and training. Infiniteach’s first iPad app – called Skill Champ – helps teachers and parents customize digital lesson plans.
Rita Dunn, will pitch ImagiRation, a game-based app for toddlers and preschoolers designed to develop critical thinking, strengthen early cognitive development and improve visual learning, attention and concentration.
Support Services Showcase
This session will highlight businesses and providers that enhance services and quality of life for those with autism and their families. Presenters will include:
Michele McKeone, founder of Autism Expressed, will pitch her company’s interactive learning system for teaching digital life skills to students with autism.
Aaron Rakow, president and founder of College Steps, will showcase his company’s autism-specific college-support services, which include assistance in designing individualized college plans (ICP) and workshops for faculty and other college staff.
Todd Kozikowski, co-founder and chief executive officer of Yabidu, will showcase his company’s web-based tools, designed to promote the active participation of patients and their families in the healthcare process.
AIC2015 will take place at Boston’s Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, March 10 and 11. Registration remains open here.