After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Golden Gate University in 2001, Matthew earned a Master's Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from California State, East Bay in 2007.
As a speech-language pathologist, Matthew continued to recognize the strong connections shared among drums, speech, and language. Speech is a skill -- like drums -- that can often be improved through practice. Language is a system of communication that uses sound- and visual-based symbols to convey information, which is amazingly similar to music. Like language, drums have words (notes/rhythms), phrases (rudiments), sentences (measures), paragraphs (song forms), and stories (improvised solos) -- the analogies are seemingly endless. The way musicians learn their instruments is even similar to language acquisition: exposure, motivation, practice, and application are key foundations of mastering an instrument or a language.
Matthew became fascinated by how people learn to communicate -- perhaps improvisational music education techniques could have applications to teaching language skills! Musicians learn their trade through continual practice and application; this allows them to combine their ideas spontaneously through improvisation. Interestingly, all conversations are spontaneous, interactive improvisational performances: in many ways, almost exactly like a band of musicians improvising together.
After meeting renowned speech-language pathologist Lois Jean Brady in 2013, Matthew submitted a provisional patent for a mobile app designed to address the intricate communication needs of people on the autism spectrum. He won the 2013 Mensa Intellectual Benefits to Society Award for his patent. The initial patent outlined designs for a system that teaches language-based improvisation, learned through imitation.
After receiving the Mensa award, Matthew started a company with Lois -- iTherapy, LLC -- which designed and built InnerVoice: a collaborative project that combined both Matthew and Lois's ideas. In 2015, Matthew and Lois received a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Grant to develop and study a concept called "synthesized emotional communication."
In 2017, iTherapy received an investment grant from NewSchools Venture Fund to expand and improve upon InnerVoice's unique features. In May of 2018, Scientia published Matthew and Lois's work in an article called "Multi-Sensory Tools for Autism," which described their new patent-pending technology called Multi-Sensory Semiotics.
Recently, in 2018, Matthew and Lois received an AI for Accessibility Grant to integrate Microsoft's cutting-edge Azure artificial intelligence technology into InnerVoice. Stay tuned to learn more about this exciting new project!