Imagine the need to track behaviors, therapy and educational progress every day for eight or 10 kids. Ask teachers of developmentally delayed and special needs students about how they spend more time with paperwork than with the students.
Luckily, Dawn Gregg had a great idea. Three UC Denver students were looking for a project, and the Business School has an incubator program that helped them bring the idea to market.
The story begins with Gregg, associate professor of information systems. Her son is autistic, and she had amassed boxes of data she collected while monitoring his physical and cognitive development over six years. "I wondered if I would ever get a meaningful picture of his progress," she says.
She decided to write software that converted the data into trends that could be compared to goals. Her son’s therapists now enter the information directly into the computer and are able to quickly determine what therapies work and make adjustments to improve his progress.
Enter students of the Information Systems Association student club, whom Gregg advised. They adapted Gregg’s software so that it would apply to a range of learning difficulties.
While working with Gregg and her husband to launch Developing Minds Software, the company that produces the software program they call DDTrac, Michael Erskine earned his master’s degree and Colette Hanley and Lynn Sargent earned their bachelor’s degrees.
"We worked with the Bard Center and met every Friday night from 6 to midnight. We updated the software, we wrote the business plan and the marketing plan, planned focus groups and everything else needed in a new small business," Gregg explains. The Bard Center, part of the Business School, offers graduate-level business classes, advises entrepreneurs on law, marketing and venture capital and holds an annual contest in which the best business plan is awarded $10,000.