The company will use its funding to focus on getting FDA approval
About 1 in 44 children in the US is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and yet there are currently significant gaps when it comes to teaching children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
That includes problems with affordability and accessibility of services. Families face long wait times to begin therapy and struggle to get therapy due to the travel times to the clinic. Autism therapy is also intensive in the number of hours prescribed, which incurs huge costs and reliance on insurance coverage.
One way to get around some of those barriers is through the use of virtual reality; that’s the idea behind it Floreodeveloper of a VR platform that teaches social, behavioral, communication and life skills for people with ASD, ADHD, anxiety and other neuro-diverse disorders.
“VR provides a virtual world for the neurodiverse that can be used to practice and gain skills. In VR, these lessons are repeatable, personalized and can be delivered through telehealth,” said Vijay Ravindran, founder and CEO of Floreo, to Vator News.
Floreo’s mission is to create the first behavioral therapy metaverse, a virtual world that is safe for students, and equip them with skills and tools that they can apply in their daily lives. Now the company is one step closer to making that vision a reality with a $10 million Series A funding round led by Tenfore Holdings, with participation from the Felton Group, the Autism Impact Fund and the Disability Opportunity Fund. Floreo has now raised and received more than $16 million in grants.
The company has developed a shared experience that uses mobile VR on iOS to deliver lessons to the student using an iPhone and mobile VR headset, while the coach follows along on an iPad and guides the student’s progress throughout the experience.
The coach leads the entire experience, including selecting the experience, initiating the iPad/iPhone pairing, and providing guidance, instruction, and praise throughout the lesson. The learner’s view is streamed to the coach’s iPad in real time, and the green bars on the real-time view represent the learner’s field of view. Floreo also provides suggested language for coaching and tools to help the coach move the lesson forward.
Florio enables his students to practice social skills in a safe and empowering way by developing content based on proven techniques for building social connections, managing planned and unplanned events, and responding to sensory overload.
Some of the lessons include developing skills for better social reciprocity and engagement; interactive stories that teach users how to manage planned and unplanned scenarios; calming and engaging environments to help users who may be experiencing stress or sensory overload; and experiences to work on executive functions such as focusing, emotional regulation, responding to auditory information, and impulse control.
Floreo currently has more than 100 provider customers, who: use it to extend their treatment options to clients, create high levels of engagement and leverage telehealth, and have delivered more than 20,000 therapy classes this year.
The company plans to use the funding over the next two years to focus on the FDA approval process while expanding its reach to more providers.
“Our goal is to empower the neurodiverse to make the world more open and accessible by building a platform that will eventually be a standard tool for all providers,” said Ravindran.
(Image source: floreotech.com)