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'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.