Ivy Street School Pilots New Technology created by Ron Suskind

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind brought his animated conversation to a full room at the Ivy Street School this week. Fresh off his dazzling keynote speech at the John Pratt Memorial Lecture in early May, Suskind demonstrated his innovative and creative new app called Sidekicks.

Ron and his wife, Cornelia, discovered their son Owen was using his affinity for Disney movies as a pathway to regain his speech, make friends, and lead a meaningful life. His bestselling book and the award winning documentary Life, Animated invited millions to witness the struggles and eventual triumphs of the Suskind family. Sidekicks was created to help families everywhere do the same.

Currently, in a free invite-only pilot program, Sidekicks is a mobile app that serves as creative communication intermediary between parent and their child with autistic spectrum disorder. The app uses an avatar of the child's choosing that parents can communicate through. Ivy Street School has been selected to take part in this program.

Ivy Street School's "Sidekicks" from David Brown on Vimeo.

The partnership comes a month after Suskind delivered the keynote speech at the John Pratt Memorial Lecture. John Pratt, a former MAB Board Member, cared deeply about the work of the Ivy Street School. John saw how the caring staff of the school helped young people with autism or other neurological problems, develop the skills needed to have full and satisfying lives as adults. The John Pratt Memorial Fund supports staff development and identifies exciting new research and technologies. John Served as Associate Director of the Whitehead Institute for 25 years.

The John Pratt Memorial Fund is dedicated to facilitating the impact of research on practice at the School in order to improve student outcomes. John would be delighted to have this as part of his legacy.


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