Category Archives: General

Calling for Q&As to “train Abby”

We embarked on creating Identifor to help address 3 needs teens and adults have:

  1. Help identify individuals’ abilities, strengths and interests so that appropriate educational and vocational plans can be pursued to enable fulfilling adult lives.
  2. Help create job opportunities that leverage the strengths of these adults.
  3. Support them 24/7 while they pursue what they are good at and enjoy doing – especially since aides and parents are no longer around to provide support.

We’ve making progress on the first goal through Identifor’s games and Dashboard.

The second goal is a work-in-process.  We’re working on a few things, but not far enough to discuss at this point

The third goal is the reason for this post.

 Abby Personal Coach

Screenshot_2015-08-19-20-17-52We built Identifor using an artificial intelligence-driven avatar (Abby) with the objective of enabling her to help adults address situations that arise over the course of a day – whether that’s at school, on the job, at home, in transit, etc.

We are now taking the next step by creating a mobile app that works on iOS and Android phones and tablets so that Abby can provide constant support over the course of a day.

Rather than explaining in text what we have in mind, let us share a “first peek” at what our developers are working on to show what Abby can do.  Please view this 2-minute video to see how Abby can provide support over the course of a day.

Abby App Demonstration

Abby is only limited by our imagination, and she can address virtually any situation we “train” her to support.

We are making good progress “training Abby,” but we think there’s much more that can be done to address all the situations adults and teens face.  Therefore, we are reaching out to ask for help in creating an exhaustive of situations and questions (and answers) that Abby should address.  We believe direct input from those who can benefit from Abby’s support will enable her to provide the best support for the broader community.

Through the generosity of a donor, Identifor Foundation is launching a contest and prize program for those who contribute questions and answers for Abby by September 4, 2015.  A $1 prize will be given for each submitted question and answer we receive by midnight Eastern Time September 4, 2015.

Please send Q&As directly to Abby at

Our journey towards creating Identifor

We are parents of a precocious 13-year old daughter and a 12-year old son who is on the spectrum.  Our daughter has good grades (especially math and science), is active with lots of activities (including 7 hours of dance a week), and our dinner conversations allow us to understand that she wants to grow up to be a physician specializing in the medical needs of dancers.  She also wants to go to college to major in a science and minor in dance.

After years of limited communications, we’re now having back-and-forth conversations with our son.  Our understanding of his abilities and interests, however, is not as deep as what we know about his sister.  We observe remarkable abilities in some areas (he has a knack with calendars and flight schedules), and his teachers comment about his visual and memory skills.   Yet he struggles with math when presented in class (but he can do mental math when presented in the context of time and calendar), and his standardize test score are low.

As a result, Cuong decided to retire as Merck’s Chief Strategy Officer and put to use skills developed over a career as an executive in high technology and healthcare companies to build Identifor.  Identifor aims to help families identify and build upon each person’s unique abilities, skills and interests for the pursuit of fulfilling futures for each individual (thus Identifor).  We want to help parents answer questions such as: “Can your child do mental arithmetic with four digit numbers? Does he/she think in pictures or words or music? Would he/she rather be outside working with plants or at a computer creating a mobile app?” so that educational and/or vocational plans can be formulated to create the most rewarding experiences before an individual reaches high school, while in high school, and after high school graduation.

We aspire to build – over time – a set of tools to help parents and individuals develop a systematic understanding of their child’s:

  • Abilities using the work pioneered by Harvard Professor Howard Gardner in his theory of Multiple Intelligences.
  • Executive Function (EF) skills based on the work by Professor George McCloskey from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a leading author in the growing field of EF.
  • Career interests building on the work by John Holland from Johns Hopkins University.

Our unique approach in creating this understanding comes from the analysis of data on how individuals play games. We will offer a set of games that children and adults will love to play, and the games themselves will collect data on how the player reacts, answers questions, makes decisions, etc.

Learn more about what we do at  The site has just launched and the iPad/Android apps will soon be available from the respective app stores – so visit the site and download the apps to learn more about what we do and play our games.  The reports and dashboards about the child’s abilities will become available soon, and families associated with Autism Speaks and Profectum Foundation will have free access to these reports by using a special link from their websites.

Cuong Do & Lori Rickles