Parents whose baby had perinatal stroke create rehabilitation platform to help him and others

Jul 28, 2017   |   Suzanne Choney

When Roberto D’Angelo and Francesca Fedeli’s son, Mario, was born in 2011, they thought he was healthy. Then, just 10 days later, it was learned that Mario had suffered a perinatal stroke, leaving him unable to control the left side of his body.

In 2014, the couple founded Fight The Stroke, a nonprofit advocating for young stroke survivors to help live normal lives as much as possible. But they also wanted to do more. Last fall, D’Angelo took a work sabbatical to support Mario’s development “in an important pre-school year and to contribute to the amazing work my wife already started in the development of Mirrorable, the first rehabilitation platform that uses technology and toolkits to promote learning while observing,” D’Angelo writes in the Microsoft Design publication on Medium.

The couple started  Mirrorable working with an inclusive design approach and a team of experts from health care and design, D’Angelo writes. “Inclusive design allowed us consider the edge where Mario was and to place him (and his caregivers) squarely in the center of a human-centric design effort.”

The couple also worked with the Microsoft Accessibility team on Mirrorable, help for which D’Angelo is grateful. “Their perspectives on inclusive design and how technology could help us with the challenges faced by our family, our nonprofit and our growing social enterprise both inspired me and renewed my confidence in our vision,” he writes.

Mirrorable’s features are evolving, he says, “utilizing everything from Kinect as a magic lens that analyzes kids’ movements and expands their world to an augmented reality where they feel magical, to AI for integrating real-time emotion analysis that promotes engagement and reduces friction, even an integrated video conferencing for families, caregiver and doctors — all connected by an AI-based matching platform.”

Last December, Mirrorable toolkits were delivered to the first two pilot families and, since then, 50 more have asked to be enrolled, he says. “We continue to serve as many as we can, and we’re expecting to evaluate pilot results at the end of 2017.”

D’Angelo and Fedeli want to continue “to seed the dream for a more inclusive world for our children; one that leverages their strengths rather than emphasizing their weaknesses,” D’Angelo writes. “We believe these kids have unrealized potential and that they deserve a better life.”

To learn more, visit the Microsoft Design publication on Medium.

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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