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While many St. Louisans held Halloween celebrations during the weekend of October 27, programmers came together for #HackAutism, a coding competition to develop tech solutions for PATHbinderTM, a web application and companion binder KIT for families supporting youth and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (DD).
The 48-hour competitive coding event was developed by Sketch Development Solutions of Ballwin, Missouri, in collaboration with St. Louis social entrepreneurship startup LIFEbinder LLC for PATHbinder, its flagship product. The PATHbinder “toolkit” combines a specially-designed document storage system with digital organizational tools to assist youth with ASD/DD in the transition to adulthood.
The #HackAutism grand prize of $5,000 was unanimously awarded to “Team Treehouse”, including Andrew Ulrich, Brett Miller, Brandon Hunter, and Beau Herndon, for their innovative data-storage solution, providing peace of mind through a unique form of encrypted security.
“With only 48 hours to work, the judges were amazed at Team Treehouse’s results,” said Vicki Kahn, Founder and CEO of LIFEbinder LLC. “We certainly didn’t expect any of the teams to tackle security solutions in just two short days, but these guys not only faced the mountain, they climbed it!”
Kahn explained that families supporting loved ones with autism must keep track of medical appointments and records, while coordinating supports through social services, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the number of non-profit programs available for finding employment, housing, complementary therapies, and community participation.
“The average person on the (autistic) Spectrum has eight individuals with whom they work each year,” said Kahn. “There is a lot of red tape when it comes to finding and accessing services for people with disabilities. With PATHbinder, we aim to create tools that will help both youth and adults develop skills that support the goal of living independently.”
In 2017, PATHbinder won the St. Louis SBTDC’s InnovateHER Women’s Business Challenge, the Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition (SEIC) through Washington University in St. Louis, and the CIC Award at Startup Connection.
For more information about PATHbinder, visit pathbinder.com.
The judging panel for the event included representatives of LIFEbinder LLC, along with experts in educational technology, programming, and human services, as well as a representative for individuals on the autism spectrum.
“When Sketch came to me with the idea for hosting a hackathon to tackle some of the more complex aspects of developing our application, I was excited, but nervous,” said Kahn. “I didn’t know that a small startup like mine could host an event like this. The team at Sketch helped us every step of the way and our team is thrilled with the results!”