Telehealth Platform Allows People With Autism And Their Families Access To Remote ABA Therapy
AnswersNow is a telehealth platform that provides remote applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy to children with autism. Their platform, designed by clinicians, provides best-in-class ABA therapy with built-in learning tools. It pairs each child with a personal Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) that provides treatment directly.
ABA therapy is considered the most effective treatment in providing people with autism with independent living skills. However, many families don’t have access to ABA therapy where they live - be it because of long waitlists at their providers or a lack of providers in rural areas. For those who do receive ABA, many families primarily work with Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) who provide treatment that is determined by BCBAs. AnswersNow’s remote platform allows families to have access to high-quality care—a direct relationship with their BCBA—regardless of where their location.
AnswersNow was founded by Jeff Beck, a clinical social worker, and Adam Dreyfus, a BCBA and director of the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism at St. Joseph’s Villa. The idea first sparked while on the playground at a school for children severely impacted by autism when Jeff witnessed Adam use his applied behavioral analysis training to completely soothe a child during a tantrum. Being aware of the lack of access to care that many parents of children with autism had, Jeff knew they needed to find a way to bring the support of ABA therapy to caregivers everywhere.
In 2016, the idea came to life when the pair won Unreasonable Labs’ startup proposal competition. In 2018, AnswersNow officially launched with the help of TechStars and Lighthouse Labs as a subscription service that provided ABA therapy training to parents of children with autism. As of 2020, they have shifted to provide ABA therapy directly to children with autism, and several insurance companies in the state of Virginia cover their services.
Before COVID-19, they mostly provided support to parents and caregivers of children with autism. And while it was always their intention to grow to a place where they could provide one-on-one therapy to children with autism, the pandemic was a catalyst that allowed them to make this shift quicker than they imagined. COVID-19 caused health insurance companies and regulators to expand their telehealth coverage policies, which meant that ABA therapy could be provided via telehealth. Since this announcement, AnswersNow kicked their team into overdrive. They worked in tandem to evolve their tech solutions and learning tools to meet the needs of remote ABA therapy; while also undertaking the time-intensive process of getting credentialed with insurance companies in the state of Virginia.
AnswersNow has an ABA therapy platform that is HIPAA-compliant and built by clinicians. While several ABA companies were able to make the shift online during COVID-19, those companies are using platforms that are not HIPAA-compliant (a requirement for telehealth platforms that is relaxed in response to the pandemic) and not equipped with built-in learning tools. For example, many ABA therapy companies that shifted to provide remote services during the pandemic are using Zoom and using a screen-sharing feature during their sessions. AnswersNow’s platform has learning tools that were designed by clinicians and are built-in to enhance the session and allow the clinician to focus on providing treatment. These two factors mean that their services are going to continue to be compliant after they tighten the relaxed regulations and that they are built for remote ABA therapy, not adjusting to it.
As they move into new states, they’re excited for the opportunity to serve hundreds of families across multiple states. AnswersNow's ultimate goal is for every family of a child with autism to have access to ABA therapy, regardless of where their location in Virginia. Getting the AnswersNow name and services in front of those who help parents of children with autism find an ABA provider can help make sure they know this company exists—and know they don’t need to drive 2 hours to receive care. Sharing their information with your doctors, friends, schools, and community centers can help make sure that parents know they are an option. For more information about AnswersNow, please visit their website at www.getanswersnow.com.
Location: AnswersNow is Richmond owned and founded, but they also have a footprint in Austin, TX with their tech team and employ BCBAs from all over the country. Currently, they accept clients from anywhere in Virginia, but their goal is to continue to expand into more states so that families across the nation can receive remote ABA therapy services.