AnswersNow: A Safe Haven for Autism
Autism is a spectrum of different conditions that are characterized by challenges that children face in their daily life. These challenges include nonverbal communication, social skills, speech, and repetitive behavior.
What is important to understand is that autism is not an illness that needs treatment. It’s something that a child is born with or it may develop at a young age. It’s a condition where the brain functions differently from the remainder of the population.
Considering that parents don’t always get the help and support they need from professionals, and with the COVID-19 pandemic changing people’s lives, Jeff Beck and Adam Dreyfus came up with the idea to turn their AnswersNow platform into a tele-ABA platform.
This move made many families happy because it meant they can get ABA therapy any place and at any time. Stick around and get to know the story that put a smile on the faces of many families dealing with autism.
Fighting for Those in Need
Jeff Beck is a licensed clinical social worker with over 12 years of professional experience in being a family therapist and consultant. Before embarking on the journey of co-founding AnswersNow with Adam Dreyfus, he worked as an LSCW with Virginia Care Partners, LLC.
Using his previous experience, he decided that autistic children, teenagers, and young adults need a direct connection to board-certified behavior analysts thus making ABA therapy for autism more accessible.
Autism manifests differently for everyone. While some may need daily care from their family, others may need very little or no assistance at all. Some may be with above-average intelligence while others may have learning disabilities and will need to be looked after. Adam and Jeff wanted to alter the perception of children with autism, and so they did.
Boosting the Knowledge
Jeff got his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Randolph-Macon College and continued his education at the Virginia Commonwealth University to receive his Master's in Social Work. Jeff is also skilled in crisis interventions, community outreach, mental health counseling, and working with adolescents.
Unlike Jeff who’s been into social work from the very beginning, Adam Dreyfus started his professional journey as a Producer and Booking Manager while he was still in school. He attended the Dominican University of California where he studied Child Psychology and explored the field of Child Development and Language at the University of Connecticut.
In 2006, Adam started working as an ABA Therapist and later took the position of Verbal Behavior Teacher at Fred S. Keller School. It was during this time that he attended the Teachers College at Columbia University and acquired his Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Skilled in autism spectrum disorders, applied behavior analysis, child development, and much more, Adam is currently the Director at Sarah Dooley Center for Autism, as well as the Chief Science Officer and co-founder of AnswersNow.
AnswerNow Lends a Hand
Many parents are seeking the cause of autism in their children by blaming themselves for bad parenting, vaccines, infections, and diets. But this is all in vain as the cause of autism remains a secret - no one knows what causes it or even if it has a cause.
Regardless of the cause, once faced with a child with autism, parents need all the support to deal with everyday life and situations. This is where AnswersNow can help.
AnswerNow is a service that is addressing a real problem that families are facing. If it wasn’t for Jeff and Adam identifying the problem of parents of children with autism feeling isolated and overwhelmed, the "answer" was never going to exist.
They joined forces in 2016 and founded AnswersNow, an app on the autism spectrum that allows parents access to licensed clinicians at a time when they need to deal with behavioral and other issues.
Securing the Finances
The journey toward success was anything but easy for Jeff and Adam, but they were both head-strong in reaching their goal.
Other than making sure the company gets all the funds it needs to run, AnswersNow was faced with fierce competition coming from companies like MedCords, Inspire, and WeDoctor. Yet, being a virtual pillar for struggling parents made AnswersNow stand out from the rest in no time.
Although they didn’t lack the knack and talent, Adam and Jeff did find themselves short on funds, so the logical thing for AnswersNow to do was to participate in funding rounds - and so they did.
Jeff and Adam went through 6 funding rounds, making sure they raised $1.4 million for the company. Out of the six, the latest funding round happened in January 2021 from a seed round.
Geared up on hope and funds, Adam and Jack’s company attracted the attention of 6 investors of which the most recent ones include Kapor Capital and the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact.
A Judgment-free Space for Parents
When AnswersNow started, it was primarily a subscription service and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it shifted to a video platform designed specifically for those on the autism spectrum and applied behavior analysis.
All parents need to do is sign up and fill in a short questionnaire to provide some basic information that will aid AnswersNow to pair them with one of the many experts with experience in the field. Within 24 hours parents are assigned an expert with whom they can build a trusting relationship and that will be available when needed.
Once you start using the services, clinicians may work with a child or adult 7 days a week and the appointments may be adjusted to your schedule. So if you are someone that has trouble finding help nearby, this is the right app for you.
A Normal Life is Possible
Autism is for life, it doesn’t go away. However, this doesn’t mean that an autistic person can’t lead a normal life. We all have things that we are good at and things we struggle with. The difference is that people with autism might need some assistance and guidance with their issues.
Autistic people can lead a normal life, have friends and relationships, and get a job, depending on the type of autism. Joining AnswersNow and getting help from board-certified behavioral analysts can provide parents and children with proper answers to help both lead a fulfilled life.
Today, the head offices for AnswersNow are located in Richmond, Virginia. So far, more than 30 people work for the company, all sharing the same passion and goals.
As time went by, AnswersNow attracted the attention of more and more people, and due to its huge success, AnswersNow is constantly expanding and looking for new team members.
Will There Be More Answers in the Future?
Currently, Adam Dreyfuss is the co-founder and CSO, while Jeff Beck stands as AnswersNow’s CEO and co-founder, still tirelessly working towards delivering solace and clinical assistance to autistic youngsters.
Wholeheartedly welcomed by parents of autistic children, Jeff and Adam became more than just helping hands - they became parts of the families they are helping.
AnswersNow plans on expanding to more areas in the US, since, according to statistics, 1 in 54 children has autism - we can only imagine how many stressed-out families are out there, put on year-long waiting lists for proper help.
With AnswersNow on the parents’ side, we can all take a breather knowing that autism is no more a stigma and that there’s a safe place for both autistic children and their parents to feel at ease.