We are Rockmelon - why we're building a global business to help kids on the autism spectrum

 

For decades individuals and companies have been utilising internet technologies to fundamentally change the way we learn, work and live. No sector or marketplace has been immune to the impact. The internet brings about a pace of innovation not previously seen. Entire sectors are transformed; completely reinvented to adapt to the changing needs and expectations of customers - and those that don't adapt fast enough are quickly made irrelevant or lost forever.

Alex’s son Beau

Alex’s son Beau

Education, health and government are some of the last sectors to truly embrace the transformative capabilities of the internet. But in areas such as disability, uncertainty in adopting new technology continues to hamper innovation, which ultimately disadvantages those who would benefit most.

As a parent with a child on the autism spectrum, Alex André de la Porte knew something had to change. He’d become increasingly frustrated at the lack of information, insight and visibility across his son’s program. Due to the current nature of early intervention services, he found that there was very little effective communication happening between therapists and parents. He was tired of not knowing how his son was going, whether or not the therapy was helping him and of having to carry around a suitcase of lesson plans and flashcards to every session.

By parents, for parents

Alex knew technology was the key, but that any solution had to be designed by parents, for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He also knew he needed a team of experts to help. So he reached out to Nicole Rogerson and Stuart Waite.

Nicole is one of Australia’s leading advocates for the awareness and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder having worked in the space for more than 16 years. She is the CEO of Autism Awareness Australia and until 2016 was the Director of one of Australia’s largest and most respected providers of early intervention programs for children diagnosed with autism. Having a now grown son on the spectrum as well, Nicole had experienced firsthand the impact good early intervention services can have on a child’s development.

Stuart is an experienced leader in the development of digital products and software platforms. He founded his first software company at age 30, successfully exiting 7 years later. Now on his fourth startup, and with 25 years working in digital media, he has developed a finely tuned sense of how best to build teams and products while scaling innovative businesses that successfully leverage available technology.

Picture of Nicole Rogerson pitching while Stuart Waite and Alex André de la Porte smile at her.
 
 

As the team came together, they challenged themselves to think bigger than anyone else. To identify a problem truly worth solving and to put parents at the centre of everything they do. To address the fact that globally 150 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder every hour. That the economic impact of ASD is predicted to surpass ADHD and Diabetes combined by 2025. And that children and adults with autism are being held back through a lack of investment in the technology needed to positively change their lives.

Enter Rockmelon…

Alex, Nicole and Stuart

Alex, Nicole and Stuart

Named after Alex’s son’s favourite food, Rockmelon is a new company with global ambitions. The founding team bring expertise in autism, technology and finance plus decades of experience in starting and running businesses around the world. Their plans will positively impact the lives of millions of children and their families by delivering a wide range of products at the intersection of learning, community and technology. Products that have never been applied to the worlds of autism and other intellectual disabilities.

Rockmelon isn’t just a software platform. It is a global community of parents all working towards the same goal: access to quality early intervention products and services that will allow our children to reach their best outcomes.

We’ve brought together an extensive team of parents, clinicians, animators, product designers and software engineers who are focused on completely reimagining the way technology is utilised to deliver innovative products and services to an underserved market.

Creating an IMPACT

We believe that ALL children can and should have access to the life changing early intervention services they need. Rockmelon was created for children with a developmental delay and their parents, by parents who were frustrated with the current system. It is the ‘early’ in early intervention that makes all the difference - and getting started in those early childhood years makes all the difference. For too long, early intervention services have been limited, restricted and insufficient. Rockmelon is going to change that…

You can read more about Rockmelon and our Founders here.