Integrated Village successfully launched the Meerkat Village pilot and is planning the full release for the summer of 2020.
Meerkat Village is unique because it:
Say everyone out there listening I'm going to guarantee them a really good time or tech vibe radio is gonna give you all your money back and then so I'm just saying right now we've got a great guest you have Crystal Morrison here ever eyes but also with a new startup she has going on here that I'm just excited to talk about with integrated village in your cat village really cool stuff. So glad to have you on the show today Crystal Audrey I know you know crystal quite well too.
So you didn't have enough to do they already had this company ever eyes. Right. And you figured you know that you don't have enough to do right yeah, I know why not? Why not start a new company and do something cool, right?
Sweeping aside history here, give us the background and then jump into the the what and the why.
Yeah, sure. So the background on meercat village and integrated village. You all are absolutely familiar with the prize competition here and Pittsburg, yep, for sure. Um, two years ago, I went to one of the informational sessions for a prize and met this really cool dude, Dan Richardson. And Dan has been for over 30 years working with children and family, especially children that have behavioral challenges. And he told me about the idea he had for the prize composition competition. And because of my own family's needs, I immediately loved it. And the idea was meercat village. And so Dan and I've partnered together over the past couple years to try to bring Meerkat cat village to reality. We partnered with three other folks out in Greensburg to create this.
Yeah, very cool. Well, there's a whole story there. I know a whole nother story, right. So we partnered with with those guys to create a new company integrated village and have launched miracle Cat village just over the past couple months actually.
So what it talks about what the what the what is so what?
What's the word? What's?
Yeah, this is very This is very personal to me I have a 16 year old son with special needs. He has Asperger's he's on the spectrum. And so what that means is that over the past 16 years of his life, I have interfaced with no less than 100 different teachers, therapist, psychiatrists, medical professionals, educational professionals in two different states in multiple different schools, right? It's absolutely exhausting. So the purpose of meercat village is to allow to give families a tool to bring together all of those different professionals in their child's life. Bring them together in an online platform to build communication, to share ideas and strategies about how to help the child and to then track the child's improvement. And as a parent who's been trying to navigate this for years, I've always wanted to have something like this to to allow me to just get everybody on the same page right to stop communicating the same thing to everyone. Yeah, yeah. This isn't this one individual education program supposed to be an IEP.
So absolutely. So an IEP is part of the scenario. It's a, an opportunity for the different professionals to come around a table and talk about the different ways they can support the child. Right challenges is that there's often very little interaction between those professionals after the meeting ends, right. Okay. Right. So, so this particular platform is both HIPAA and FERPA compliant. So all of those consent forms you sign when you're doing an IEP, all of those things are already built into the platform. Mm hmm.
So you're saying no one. First of all, it's so cool that this is happening, like right around the 30 year mark, of the ABA, the American Disabilities Act as 30 years marks, you know, you think we made a lot of improvements, but we really made most of our improvements are really around physical asset access. Yeah, buildings and construction, but not necessarily in the kind of access and integration that you've talked about. Right. So do you have you seen any competition out there?
Not yet. Not yet. Not yet.
This this particular field you know when it comes to treating children with social, emotional, behavioral challenges, you know, we still rely very heavily on paperwork and farraj. Right. And so the field is very slow to change in general. And so we're not seeing others like us out there yet, obviously, with with COVID. There's a huge push toward teletherapy and different, different platforms to give people more access. But nothing really yet that's really empowering families and building collaboration between these team members, team members, and also of course, being able to track if what you're doing is actually working.
That's the big part actually know if it's working because you can see something's not where it's supposed to be doing. You can start course correcting or you can go on for a long time and just absolutely what's going on. I think that's just so empowering to see in action.
I'm a teacher, if I'm a teacher, or if I'm a speech pathologist, or if I'm a physical therapist. or behavioral therapists? You tell me what I'm going to see. Is there a site that they can go to right now that they can download anything? So where are you in that? Because I'd love to get it in the hands of people, particularly now during the summer as we think about what happens in the fall. You're absolutely.
So our website is integrated village.io. Okay, if people want to go to the website, they can learn more about meercat village, they can also see an explainer video. And there's also a longer video that gives a little bit more introduction to the platform. We are actually we already have buyers, we're doing onboarding for those buyers. I would personally be happy if there's any parents or speech therapist or teachers out there that are interested in just seeing what it looks like. You can see pictures online at our website, but I'd be more than happy to Day Two, spend a few minutes and tour right I like it.
Yeah. What we'll do at the tech Council is we'll connect you with our science, or science, some former science teacher who's now on our staff and 40 by 80. And help her help you navigate so that you can get some some testing capability to see how to integrate that across teachers, because that's really important. The other thing is this app is downloadable so I can have it on my phone.
So right now it's a platform that's web based. So you can it's very mobile friendly. So you can check out the website and the the platform on your phone. In the next year or so we will be developing the the app. So not only the web based platform, but also the the app.
So people who are listening and they That might have interest, what kinds of jobs might they have? There'll be parents, of course, right?
Yeah. So it's, it's definitely going to be parents, it's going to be teachers, especially early childhood or early intervention teachers who are trying to build relationships with families. It could be medical professionals, therapists, psychiatrists who are wanting to bring a really value added tool into their practice. These are the types of these are the types of users that that we have in our platforms. But the platform is amenable to you know, inviting your child's baseball coach in or inviting your your child's, you know, Hebrew teacher or Sunday school teacher, right. So it's about not only bringing the professionals together, but all of the adult supports and the community around them with your child as for absolutely anyone.
This was like a big problem and inspired you to create this solution. And it's, I just love it that makes me so pumped.
I mean, I have I have lived this day in and day out in a huge way for 16 years. So I get goosebumps just talking about the the degree of just communication and change that can happen in one little, it's really rare to happen. And it's a celebration on the time of the 30 year mark of the American Disabilities Act. Yeah, because there really hasn't been successful inclusion of whole life of people. That's right, like and I have too many friends and colleagues who have had experiences like yours. So I want so tell us the website again and then just real quickly remind everyone that you also have another company.
Absolutely. So So yeah. So integrated village is the company. The website is integrated village.io. And the product is meercat village. And as Audrey mentioned, I'm also the founder and CEO of ever rise, which is a company dedicated to helping build leadership and strategy and technical organizations so that they can become, you know, highly innovative, sustainable and companies for the long term.
such cool. I'm exhausted listening to you. It is thrilling to hear your energy. Thank you for building a hopeful tomorrow. For many people who were young and even people after the age of 22 are out of the school systems. I can see that this is very effective in terms of you know, connecting people with their whole life. So thank you, Crystal Morrison for joining us. Thank you for all your energy. And who knows we probably have time for a third company soon. No third company.
I don't know, I don't know. But always grateful for the Pittsburgh tech Council. What are you guys and everything that you're doing?
Thank you so much. Thank you so much. It was great seeing if crystal you're making the Pittsburgh tech Council in the region, super proud because these types of solutions only come out of Pittsburgh. That's all we had. You're on tech by radio and it's like, no one's getting their money back. Everyone agrees it was an awesome interview. Simple as that. Or take a quick break. We got a lot more tech by radio. This is Jonathan Kersting. And this is odd husa isn't the tech Council on our brand new website at PGH tech.org. nerd out there and have some fun right back
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