November 16, 2015

Birdhouse to Our House

People are amazing. When the government can’t cut it, when the school won’t do it, when the medical community doesn’t heal it, we the people are doing some amazing things via social entrepreneurship.

Case in point: Ben Chutz.

I talked to Ben today about Birdhouse, a web-based tool he created to help parents keep track of what it takes to raise an autistic child. “You know what it’s like,” Ben said. “The only thing harder than keeping track of all this is explaining it to your child’s doctor.”

For years, Dani Gillman kept records and notes about her autistic daughter, Brodie, in a three-ring binder. The single mother from outside Detroit also ran a popular blog about the challenges of raising Brodie, but her system was clunky and the binder too easily lost. In 2011, when Brodie was 11 years old, she started dating Ben, a tech-savvy businessman who fell in love with Dani and Brodie. He soon hated the paper-based system.

“I knew,” he told me, “there had to be a better way.”

He developed and evolved an electronic organizing tool that will soon be adapted to parents raising children with all sorts of special needs. According to the site, “Birdhouse gives you the tools to organize meds, supplements, and therapies, and easily keep track of things like food, behaviors, moods, sleeping habits, and more all in one safe, secure, and searchable place.”

I plan to write more about Chutz – and much more about people like him – in the coming months. Please keep an eye on this space.

Just had to share this now.