Winning the Mensa Foundation’s Intellectual Benefits to Society Award changed the direction of my career and my life.
Prior to winning the award, I had a lot of what seemed to be unorthodox — even crazy — ideas about the relationships shared among music, language, and autism treatment. This award validated many of my ideas by acknowledging that they had the potential to impact large groups of people; the Mensa Foundation turned out to be correct.
After winning the Intellectual Benefits to Society Award, I applied those ideas to three successful Small Business Innovation Research grants — two with the National Science Foundation and one with the National Institutes of Health — that have focused on developing technology that improves communication skills for people with autism and other challenges.
Additionally, the provisional patent I submitted to the Mensa Foundation as part of the award competition has since turned into a real product: InnerVoice, an app that has been downloaded by approximately 65,000 people. InnerVoice, funded by Microsoft and the NewSchools Venture fund, is available on Apple’s app store. Epic Games is now working with us, and we will be releasing a new version of InnerVoice on Android and other platforms.
Interestingly, the projects I’m drumming on social media have also received more attention due to their connections with language research, skill development, and autism. All of these positive trends began with Mensa Foundation awarding me its prestigious Intellectual Benefits to Society Award in 2013. Thank you for your consistent and life-changing support, Mensa Foundation!