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Forta: Providing Family-led Autism Therapy that Empowers Children

Image Credits: iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz
By: Headliners News / February 8, 2024

Forta has recently secured $55 million in new funding to support its mission of democratizing access to healthcare, particularly in the space of autism therapy. The company utilizes artificial intelligence tools, including large language models, to empower caregivers and improve clinical treatments. Forta Health focuses on addressing the growing number of diagnoses for conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s, and chronic diseases, where there is a shortage of professionals to provide support.

The startup’s initial products concentrate on autism treatment, specifically applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA has faced criticism in the autistic community for being overly controlling and focused on changing behaviors to conform to societal norms rather than understanding the underlying needs or perspectives of individuals. Forta Health defends its approach, emphasizing a trauma-informed and least-restraint approach, distancing itself from the controversial methods used in the early applications of ABA.

Christian Smith, co-founder and CMO at Forta Health, recently explained the company’s perspective on ABA, in that they’re thinking about the application of Applied Behavioral Analysis as a method for analyzing behavior, and then go on to providing reinforcements that either promote a positive behavior or extinguish a negative, maladaptive behavior.

Ritankar Das, Forta’s co-founder and CEO, highlights the challenge of ensuring consistent, quality care within the current healthcare system. The company takes a personalized approach, using an AI model to customize treatment plans for individuals with autism. Forta Health aims to provide professional support and training to parents, recognizing the crucial role of family-driven care in managing chronic conditions.

This innovative startup has partnered with seven of the top 10 largest U.S. health insurance providers and over two dozen state government schemes. With the newly raised $55 million, Forta Health plans to expand its reach beyond autism, exploring opportunities for family-based care in a broader context.

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