Based in New York, Dr Renae Beaumont was just 21 when she began developing a computer game to help children with autism spectrum conditions crack the code of emotions and friendships – the Secret Agent Society. Her idea came off the back of teaching flute to a nine-year-old boy with an autism spectrum condition who was skilled technically, but played flute robotically. To date, variants of the program are used by more than 1500 professionals in nine countries. Dr Beaumont completed her PhD in clinical psychology at 25, making her one of the youngest Australian graduates. And the results of her PhD have been a game-changer in the world of autism treatment.
Renae is a faculty member at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital. Here, she works with her colleagues to create and evaluate new technological innovations, including virtual reality therapy to treat teen social anxiety and brain imaging and passive sensing technology to improve the detection, prevention and treatment of mental health issues in young adults.
Check out Dr Beaumont’s TEDx presentation here.