How a tech expert’s love for his grandson is driving advances in autism care

During his career working with Scientific Atlanta, Allen Ecker, PhD, had no idea that his experience would one day help his grandson who has autism. Then he joined Marcus Autism Center’s Board of Trustees and three things he loves in life came together – technology, his grandson and helping others.

“My grandson has autism so this was personal for me,” says Ecker. “Once I toured Marcus Autism Center and saw all of the wonderful activities and innovation, I was eager to have a chance to participate on the board.”

One of the first things that interested Ecker was how current telecommunications technology could be adapted for research and therapy programs at Marcus Autism Center.

For Ecker, this was a perfect match for his background in telecommunications at Scientific Atlanta. That gave him the knowledge to set up an innovation fund for Marcus Autism Center patients.

“The clinical team was doing great work to identify triggers for autism patients by recording sessions and studying them for clues to improvement, so I thought why don’t we set up a fund to continue to drive technology innovation in the care they provide,” says Ecker.

The Ecker family gave a gift to Marcus Autism Center to establish a clinical innovation fund. Marcus Autism Center sees kids in a unique, autism-focused environment, so they are able to develop special insights into this population of children. The Ecker Family Clinical Innovation Fund will help ensure that the center captures the lessons each child teaches about living with autism and use these lessons to maximize the potential for children with autism. The clinicians at Marcus Autism Center take what they learn from individual cases and use this knowledge to develop solutions that work in the community.

“Marcus Autism Center has outstanding staff where you see how passionate and dedicated they are to their part of their work,” says Ecker. “I support the vision of the leadership to focus on how we can provide help for the symptoms of ASD that is affecting so many children in the U.S."

Ecker’s interest in innovative technology and the mission of Marcus Autism Center, is driving advances that can reduce costs to families, and more importantly, optimize families’ time and access to autism therapies and care. The Ecker family’s gifts are an inspiration for others to help support Marcus Autism Center.

“I believe the future of healthcare is innovation because we have to use technology to remove the cost barriers, especially for families with children with autism. To solve healthcare challenges, clinicians need the right tools and technology to help patients' access treatments and continue to strive for bright futures for these bright children.”

Contact Jessica Lucadamo to make an impact like Allen has.