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The company will use its funding to focus on getting FDA approval
Approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and yet there are still major gaps that currently exist when it comes to teaching children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
That includes issues with affordability and accessibility of services. Families face long waiting periods to start therapy, and have difficultly receiving therapy due to commute times to in-clinic services. Autism therapy is also intensive in the number of hours prescribed which create enormous costs and dependence on insurance coverage.
One way to get around some of those barriers is through the use of virtual reality; that's the idea behind Floreo, developer of a VR platform that teaches social, behavioral, communication, and life skills for individuals with ASD, ADHD, anxiety, and other neurodiverse conditions.
"VR allows 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 via telehealth," Vijay Ravindran, Floreo's founder and CEO, told VatorNews.
Floreo’s stated mission is to create the first behavioral therapy metaverse, a virtual world that is safe for learners, equipping them with skills and tools they can apply in their everyday lives. Now, the company is one step closer to make that vision a reality thanks to 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 now has over $16 million raised and received in grants.
The company has developed a shared experience that uses mobile VR on iOS to deliver lessons to the Learner using an iPhone and mobile VR headset, while the Coach follows along on an iPad and guides the Learner’s progress throughout the experience.
The Coach directs the entire experience, including selecting the experience, initiating the pairing between iPad and iPhone, and providing guidance, instructions, and praise language throughout the lesson. The Learner’s view is streamed in real time to the Coach's iPad and the green bars on the real time view represent the Learner’s field of view. Floreo also provides suggested Coaching language and tools to help the Coach move the lesson along.
Florio allows its Learners to practice social skills in a safe and reinforcing manner by developing content based on proven techniques for building social connections, managing planned and unplanned events, and responding to sensory overload.
Some of its lessons include how to develop 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 feel stress or experience sensory overload; and experiences to work on executive functioning skills such as focusing, emotional regulation, responding to auditory information, and impulse control.
Floreo currently has over 100 provider customers today, who use it to expand their treatment options to clients, create high levels of engagement, and leverage telehealth, and has delivered over 20,000 therapy lessons this year.
The company plans to use the funding to focus on the FDA approval process over the next two years while expanding its reach to more providers.
"Our goal is to enable the neurodiverse to make the world more open and accessible by building a platform that will ultimately be a standard tool for all providers," said Ravindran.
(Image source: floreotech.com)
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