Meet AVA, the next ed tech superhero for school-age children
A child with the inability to see and hear well in a classroom setting has been correlated to poor performance in school.
For Arizona schools, hearing screening tests for school-age children are mandatory. If a child fails a screening test, the current process is to send a flier home with the child and hope for the best, leaving many children without follow-up for medical attention.
According to the AZ Department of Health Services, in the 2012/13 school year, 1,242 children were identified as having a hearing loss.
Danna Evans, a teacher of 19 years with a passion for helping students, founded AZ Vision and Hearing and conducts vision and hearing (VH) screening tests for local schools.
“The earlier the child can be identified and receive medical attention, the better it will be for the educational experience, Evans said.
Evans said, one of the problems with sending a child home with a flier is that the information most likely ends up at the bottom of a backpack, thrown out or missed by a parent, thus leaving the child without follow-up
During her teaching years, Evans also noticed the avalanche of the paperwork school nurses endured with the VH testing season and said it could take hundreds of hours to complete.
Evans decided that it was time to solve this archaic manual method for screenings and built AVA, a cloud-based software solution designed to automate and streamline the paper-pushing process of VH tests for schools. The platform will also alert parents, teachers and school officials if the child is flagged with a medical concern, and send tips and information via email to the parent about free and reduced medical care.
Evans refers to AVA as a “school’s Nurse Assistant Superhero [that will] empower the parent to take action and improve the educational experience.”
Currently VH screening tests run between $10 to $20 per student, Evans said with AVA she hopes to make this process more affordable. This fall, AVA will be piloted at 15 schools around the Valley.
Evans was part of Seed Spot’s venture program and recently pitched at DEMO DAY. Her company won six months of free desk space at Seed Spot and $7,500 in cash prizes.
With her recent wins, Evans plans to use funds for building out the platform, marketing and growing the business.
In the end, Evans wants to help the kids and early intervention is at the heart of her business. She hopes with AVA’s help children will have an improved educational experience.
“We don’t know what we can’t see or hear,” she said.
Graphics courtesy of AZ Vision & Hearing