In the 21st Century, advancements in technology have made every person accessible at the touch of a finger.

Looking to capitalize on the transformation of communication, Prime One Eleven owner Kurt Popick and Autism Anchor CEO Paige Slocum have teamed up to raise funds for a newly formed and innovative platform that aims to alleviate the concerns of parents with children who suffer from autism by using state of the art technology that informs and connects families in similar situations, as well as connecting the various doctors and therapists of each patient.

“One of the issues that didn’t sit well with me was you go through all this testing to rule out or confirm that the diagnosis is true,” said Slocum, who launched Autism Anchor recently and hopes to see it fully operational in the upcoming months.

“After they tell you yes, indeed, your son does have autism, it’s basically they give you a couple of pamphlets and you’re just on your own,” she added. “It’s like trying to navigate this really, really complicated and vastly confusing world because of all the theories out there.”

Slocum, who started her journey as a concerned parent of a child on the spectrum, said she aims to guide others in similar situations with real time help, via her app and website.

After many different approaches, Slocum decided to use her marketing background and resources to reach out to multiple caregivers and parents.

“I got more information from people, especially caregivers that were able to give me tangible, real life information that they already knew worked,” the Guilford resident said.

One of those real-life examples she learned about was from Popick, who is the father of a child born with autism and a longtime family friend.

The Trumbull business owner said he jumped at the opportunity to host a fund-raiser for Autism Anchor.

Fortunately, the event — scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Prime One Eleven Sunday, April 3 — coincides with the start of National Autism Awareness Month.

“We mutually decided about a month ago that with Paige being in the wine business and myself being in the restaurant business, and both affected personally by autism, that this would be a great opportunity to make money,” said Popick.

How it works

Taking ideas from match.com, Yelp! and using a GPS, Autism Anchor allows you to create an extensive profile that will match you with children and caregivers from around the state and country who are in the same situation. It’s creating a supportive community for people to share information and receive guidance from others who have already in a sense walked the walk.

It also works as a conduit for the many doctors and therapists who might be available to a given patient, which helps keep all parties on the same page.

Slocum said the app and site will be free of charge and works to help every individual's particular needs and concerns.

Understanding the cause

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S. and receives less than 5% of the funding that many less prevalent childhood diseases receive.

As it stands today, one in 68 households are dealing with an autism diagnosis.

Behind every child on the spectrum is a family that is also coping with the disorder, which can unfortunately cause anger, frustration and unexpected strains on family relationships, according to Slocum.

There is a certain uncertainty when it comes to the vast amount of therapies and treatments prescribed by their doctors and caregivers.

With an annual cost of $60,000 a year in treatments, parents like Slocum and Popick want to be sure what they invest in is pertinent to their child’s needs.

Urgency

Both parents understand the urgent need of resources for families that are struggling with the disease, and that ultimately led to the idea for the fund-raiser.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years regarding social services and physical therapies but there is no one place to go where parents can communicate or speak with ideas about doctors, different therapies and diets,” said Popick. “To offer this as a free service we thought it was a great idea.”

How to donate

Tickets are $100 and will include an open bar, an all you can eat raw bar, appetizers, and a dinner menu that has been specially crafted to pair with North Haven-based Wines from Slocum & Sons Wine Distributors.

Half of all ticket proceeds will be donated to Autism Anchor in hopes of helping it reach its startup goal of $200,000.

To donate visit autismanchor.org or send a check made out to Autism Anchor to 800 Village Walk, STE 234, Guilford, CT 06437.