A family tragedy sparked a great idea for a computer program that is now used on Long Island and across the country.
Matt Giovanniello, a 25-year-old Rockville Center native, was 12 when his grandmother suffered a massive stroke. As clinicians tried to help him recover his brain function using flashcards, Matt thought there had to be a better way, so he gave him a PowerPoint quiz instead. Thus was born the idea of Frenalytics, a gamified computer software that aims to help people with cognitive disorders relearn facts and rebuild memory function.
“It’s like making lemonade with lemon, I like to say,” says Matt. “For people as unhappy as she was, we are now able to create this software to help them.”
Matt and his father, Dr. Anthony Giovanniello, a psychiatrist and neurology expert, teamed up for the project. Anthony, co-founder of Frenalytics and stroke survivor, helped secure a patent for their early product. Matt, Anthony and their friend, Chris Patterson, are co-founders of the company and co-inventors of the patent.
“It’s wonderful to be able to work with my dad, who has first-hand experience, and to be inspired by my family in this capacity,” Matt says.
While they initially targeted digital learning software for stroke and dementia patients, the pandemic prompted them to push it into classrooms for children with special needs as well.
Frenalytics asks the patient basic questions such as “What year is it?” “, ” Where did you grow up ? or “Choose the image of your house”. Family members or caregivers can customize the program to reflect answers to personal questions, even to help patients remember names and faces of loved ones. In special education classrooms, this same method is used to teach students the facts they need to know as part of the curriculum. The program also tracks users’ progress with analytics.
“Patients use the software and really appreciate it for the same reason children with special needs do,” says Matt. “It involves family members near and far. Unlike flashcards or worksheets, it’s really easy to see where a patient or student is improving and where they need more help. »
Matt says the program is also more effective than using hard copies because it uses scientific research methods that make it easier to remember. He adds that the software is now used with Molloy College’s tutoring program for students with disabilities and for patients in the trauma unit at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, and has also been used in other parts of the country, including schools and facilities in California and Massachusetts.
To learn more, visit frenalytics.com.