Michele McKeone, high school teacher turned successful entrepreneur, came to speak to Fox students about her business, Autism Expressed, for a Fireside Chat on February 11. Michele began the Fireside Chat by sharing her story, explaining how her background in education as a teacher of seven years helped her understand the market of what technology worked and what failed to work for her business.
Autism Expressed is an online learning platform that is used to maximize engagement in learning for students with autism. The program prepares individuals for life after high school by helping to increase their independence and providing opportunities for post-secondary education growth.
Michele shared that the success of her company was from, “learning and talking to her customers, learning about budgeting and prioritizing to what they were going to purchase.” She knew there was a need for these services, yet with so few resources, she had to do a lot of the groundwork on her own in order for her business to be the success it is today.
McKeone shared it can be challenging to work with students with autism, but it is also the most rewarding experience. Her passion for the product reinforces the success for the program, making others love and want to utilize it for their children. She hopes one day Autism Expressed will be an international company, as there is no reason why she and her team cannot make it happen.
When first finding a team, she worked with many types of people. There is a strong social impact aspect to the company of people wanting to “do good” for others. Michele shared, “It was easy to motivate people because they knew they were doing something meaningful, by helping students learn impeccable skill sets and digital life skills.”
She wrapped up the discussion by showing a demonstration of Autism Expressed, sharing the principles of applied behavior analysis for the “student experience.” There are over 250 lessons right now within the program and students are limited to the number of lessons they can complete each week.