'Connections' App Helps Parents Find Resources for Kids on the Autism Spectrum


After Lamarque Polvado’s daughter Ashlynn was diagnosed with autism, he wasn’t sure what he could do to provide her with the best care — both in the present and the future.

“What do I know about helping a child who has a special healthcare need be successful?” Polvado told local Texas news station, ABC KVUE, of his reaction to Ashlynn’s diagnosis. “I knew nothing about autism. I knew nothing about resources that may or may not help Ashlynn.”

Polvado switched careers and founded CareStarter, which developed the Connections app, where parents can create an account and immediately access local clinics, therapists and community resources for kids with special needs.

“I made this agreement that I would build technology that would empower patients that would help them access care, but in their own way,” Polvado said.

Polvado added that the moment he received his daughter’s diagnosis was one of the most “impersonal experiences of his life.” Polvado told KVUE the doctor entered the room, handed them a sheet of paper with information about autism and left.

“A piece of paper with a lot of grim stats saying to prepare for the worst was not helpful,” he said. “This is my daughter. There’s no eject button. She’s mine and my responsibility and I have to help her find points of care that help her achieve the best she can be.”

The Connections mobile app is currently live in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Waco and Central Texas and available on the Apple App Store for free.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

4 Things I Hope My Autism Inspires You to Do

The last two years of my life have been a journey toward both self-discovery and self-advocacy as I have slowly stepped out of the shadows. I am continually gaining the comfort and confidence to add my voice to the valuable discussion about autism in our communities. Venturing out has afforded me the opportunity to share [...]

'Life Animated' Documentary Tells Story of Man With Autism Who Used Disney to Connect

While there has been plenty of controversy surrounding the Tribeca Film Festival this year, one film about autism is garnering praise. Ron Suskind, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who wrote “Life Animated: a Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism,” worked with acclaimed director Roger Ross Williams and producer Amy Goldman to make a documentary based on his [...]

The Moment I Felt I Chose the Right Therapy for My Son With Autism

I never imagined we would find a second home at an applied behavior analysis clinic. From the outside it looks like any other office. But inside it’s filled with so much love and laughter. There are no superheroes or miracle workers, but inside you will find good people with good intentions. Some are still in college, and others [...]

To Those Who Give My Parents and Sister With Autism 'That Look'

I know you are out there. And don’t fear: you’re not alone. I see the looks you give my parents as they let one of my sister’s “rude” comments slide. I see the way you purse your lips when my slightly overweight sister orders the cheese fries instead of the salad with dressing on the side. I can [...]