Oct. 31, 2022

FirstWork Teaches Verbal Skills To Children Through Digital Reinforcement Learning With Patrick Faga

FirstWork Teaches Verbal Skills To Children Through Digital Reinforcement Learning With Patrick Faga
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FirstWork Teaches Verbal Skills To Children Through Digital Reinforcement Learning With Patrick Faga

Founder of FirstWork, and inventor of ‘adaptive digital reinforcement learning' based tools. FirstWork provides digital reinforcement learning tools to teach early verbal skills to children trying to develop them.

Patrick is an ed-tech entrepreneur building a learning system that enables kids in developmental therapy to work on some of their therapy goals after the session is over. Much of the work in developmental therapy can be worked on at home after the initial introduction. 

Patrick has a Master’s Degree in Behavioral and Decision Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor's degree in Behavioral Neuroscience and Philosophy from the University of San Diego.

Learn more at www.firstworkapp.com


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FirstWork Teaches Verbal Skills To Children Through Digital Reinforcement Learning With Patrick Faga

[00:00:00] John Cordray: Some of you may know that I used to work in a school district for about four years, almost four years, and then then covid hit, and then my, my contract was not renewed, but when I worked in the school district, one of my most favorite things to do was to go into. The preschool and pre-kindergarten classes, and when I walked into those classes, I felt like a movie star.

[00:00:26] John Cordray: They would look at me and they would run up to me, and actually the teachers probably got a little upset because I would distract the entire room. And they would all come up to me and gimme hugs and high fives, and I loved it. And so I'm very, very excited about this episode because we're gonna be talking about that age range.

[00:00:45] John Cordray: And some kids really struggle with verbal skills. And so this episode is titled First Work Teaches Verbal Skills to Children Through Digital Reinforcement Learning with Patrick Coming. 

[00:00:59] John Cordray: [00:01:00] Welcome to The Mental Health Today Show, my name is John Cordray and I am a licensed therapist and the host of this show. And like I said at the very beginning, I'm really excited about this. I just love working with us age. Some people, maybe not so much, but I love this age group and they're just so innocent in loving and just fun and so I'm really happy and excited to bring on.

[00:01:25] John Cordray: Patrick. Let me just kinda read the bio for you. So listen to this. So Patrick is the founder of a company called First Work, and he's an inventor of. Digital reinforcement learning based tools and first work provides digital reinforcement learning tools to teach early verbal skills to children trying to develop them.

[00:01:48] John Cordray: And Patrick is a ed tech entrepreneur building a learning system that enables kids in developmental theory to work on some of their therapy goals after the session is over. [00:02:00] And much of the work in developmental theory can be worked on at home after the initial intro. Patrick's background includes a master's degree in behavioral and decision science from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor's degree in behavioral neuroscience and philosophy from the University of San Diego.

[00:02:21] John Cordray: Patrick, welcome to the 

[00:02:23] Patrick Faga: show. Hey, John, thanks for having me. It's it's really exciting and I, I can't relate enough about what you were saying about the, that age range. There's something about that energy and just the excitement that the kids bring to, you know, to that field of work. That is, is really just incredible.

[00:02:38] Patrick Faga: So it's so cool to see that you, you have that experience with that too and that connection. Oh yes, 

[00:02:42] John Cordray: absolutely. And I'll have to say, you know, I wasn't teaching the class . It's a much different story when you're trying to teach that that age group. Now I, I did take them out on recess and I did have recess duty, and it was the hardest thing ever to get their attention [00:03:00] to bring back in from being out on recess.

[00:03:03] John Cordray: So I, I can sympathize with the teachers and I, I understand that they probably didn't like it when I came in because I completely disrupted 

[00:03:10] Patrick Faga: the class. Oh, man. Yeah. Recess duty sounds like a pretty great gig. , it sounds like a lot of. Oh man. Yeah, 

[00:03:19] John Cordray: it, it was, But there's always that one student, you know what I'm saying?

[00:03:24] John Cordray: The one wanders off on their own. You're trying to get them to come in. 

[00:03:29] Patrick Faga: Yeah. All the way on top of the swing set or something, . 

[00:03:33] John Cordray: But it's still fun and I love it. All right, so let's first talk a little bit about you. Cause I always love learning some of the backstory. And then we'll talk a little bit about first work and what you're doing there.

[00:03:47] John Cordray: But let's start with you and, and how did you, how did you get to the, to where you're at now? 

[00:03:52] Patrick Faga: Well, that's a great question. It's like a lot of people, I think was, at least in part by happenstance. So I was an undergraduate at the [00:04:00] University of San Diego studying behavioral neuroscience, and I graduated from school during the pandemic and at the time was starting a job as a behavioral therapist.

[00:04:08] Patrick Faga: So behavioral therapy is a really common form of therapy for kids with autism particularly. And so it's an in-home therapy. And it's something that you can get into, you know, right out of school. And so I always wanted to work in the therapy space and thought that it would be an excellent entree into that world.

[00:04:22] Patrick Faga: And little did I know it would set me on a path that I'm, I'm still on. So I I got to, I got to work as a therapist and realized that the world was upside down. It was the beginning of Covid. And so a lot of the things that everyone was used to in that. Clinical practice, you know, was being revised and reconsidered in light of all of the difficulties, especially because it is an in-person therapy.

[00:04:44] Patrick Faga: So you're in the home with the family and the children. And so the introduction of Covid really changed the landscape a lot. Telehealth was introduced and generally speaking, it was a really, really interesting time to get, you know, to get a window into the field and the experience of people with autism [00:05:00] and the challenges that the kids are facing.

[00:05:02] Patrick Faga: And really my main sort of jumping off point. Her first work was realizing that the transition to teletherapy and also, you know, remote school is something that works really well for some populations but isn't really great for all of them. And I think that kids with autism, especially kids who are under five and really kids under five in general, are not really well suited for zoom based school.

[00:05:24] Patrick Faga: Given all of the attention demands and the sort of distance from some of the motivation reinforcement that happens in a traditional learning setting where you have a teacher there spurring you on and encouraging you in a way that you can really relate. So seeing that that being introduced in this context really raised a lot of questions to me about why is it the case that there aren't learning tools that are really built for kids who have special needs and who don't work very well with the traditional systems and that that nugget really stuck with me and combined with some other insights I have from the field, sort of led me to start thinking about first work and then eventually build it in [00:06:00] light of some of the things that I learned while I was at the University of Pennsylvania studying behavioral science.

[00:06:04] Patrick Faga: Well, that's 

[00:06:04] John Cordray: excellent. So cool. So you have a, a background. You have a background in therapeutic work. 

[00:06:12] Patrick Faga: I do have a background in therapeutic work. Yeah. ABA is an interesting field. There are entry level positions where you can be working one on one with clients and helping them, you know, achieve their developmental goals.

[00:06:22] Patrick Faga: So it's a really interesting space where you can be a pretty young person and and get right started. So, had some great supervisors and some great help to get me started, but yeah, I, I kind of jumped right into work as a therapist right after. 

[00:06:35] John Cordray: So you saw a need, Well, you saw a problem, you saw a need, and you decided that you wanted to try to come up with a solution.

[00:06:43] Patrick Faga: Yeah, that's, I'd say that's right. Yeah. . Yeah. 

[00:06:46] John Cordray: And so your background in ed tech, I, I like to learn a little bit about that because as, as kind somewhat similar to me with media, so I'm not so much, as much as the, the tech. [00:07:00] Although I'm a, I'm a a telehealth therapist, but I'm not like an inventor like you are.

[00:07:06] John Cordray: But I definitely have a, a background in media and I chose my, my love and passion for mental health and for media and combine them in using that to help people. That's essentially what you're doing with the tech part. 

[00:07:18] Patrick Faga: Yeah, that's, that's exactly right. That's, that's the way I like to think about it. I was really interested in becoming A B C B A and working professionally in ABA sort of as a career, but in light of some of the insights and my belief that this is a technology that can have a lot of impact, I decided that combining my love for behavioral science more broadly with, you know, my love for therapeutic work would be, you know, a really great path for me to pursue.

[00:07:41] Patrick Faga: So that's what I. Yeah, so 

[00:07:43] John Cordray: I'm interested now I wanna learn a little bit about your tech side. 

[00:07:47] Patrick Faga: Yeah. So I am actually not a technical founder, so I have a co-founder who is doing the technical work for us. That's Thad. So I, I paired up with the computer science to make it a reality, but the [00:08:00] technological element that I contributed was what I call behavioral technology.

[00:08:03] Patrick Faga: So I am a behavioral scientist by training in my master's program. And essentially what behavioral scientists do is we look at environments, at least in this modern contemporary context of behavioral science. We look at environments, we look at how people interact with them, and then the effect of that interaction.

[00:08:18] Patrick Faga: And then you can start to think about ways to change an environment to change people's behavior. So that is sort of the technological element that I contributed is, you know, deriving a behavioral technology that's novel that can have the sort of learning impact that we needed. And then teamed. One of my oldest friends from college Thaddius, who is our cto, who can actually make it a reality.

[00:08:39] Patrick Faga: And we've been, we've been working at it ever since. So I, I'm not a computer scientist. I don't, I don't lay code myself, but it's an interesting way to be a technologist. But, you know, I'm more on the theory side of things, I guess. Well, I 

[00:08:52] John Cordray: think that's awesome. It takes a team, 

[00:08:54] Patrick Faga: doesn't it? Yeah.

[00:08:56] Patrick Faga: Entrepreneurship and really anything else is 100% a team journey. I, I couldn't [00:09:00] imagine what it would be like to be doing. On my own. Well, I, I did do it for a little bit at the very beginning and very quickly realized that it takes a village, . It definitely 

[00:09:08] John Cordray: does. It makes a world difference to have a team, and it's really cool that on your team, everyone has their expertise, but the mission and the vision is still the same.

[00:09:19] Patrick Faga: Yeah, that's one of my favorite things about working with Aus and Kal. Kal is our research lead. We're all mission driven. We care most about the outcome and about generating this learning and you know, really providing something of value to these kids who, who really need it. And so having that, you know, sort of ethos in the background is just incredible.

[00:09:36] John Cordray: Wow. So let's, let's talk a little bit about first work. Tell me a little bit about it and, Cause I'm sure there are a lot of parents who are listening or someone who's thinking, Oh, I know I need to tell my, my best friend about this. Cuz maybe they're struggling with a child, a young child that maybe it's on the spectrum.

[00:09:55] Patrick Faga: Yeah, I'd love to. So essentially, first work does something pretty simple. What we do is [00:10:00] we restrict access to fun apps on your phone, like Netflix or games until you do a little bit of learning work. It sounds like a pretty simple technology because it is, but it's impact can be pretty profound because it's supplied behavioral analysis essentially.

[00:10:12] Patrick Faga: So in aba, which is the type of therapy that I used to. What you basically do is you look at a behavior and then you try to motivate that behavior to continue by providing a justified reward for it. So if your child does some sort of great work, you want to give them a. So this is essentially something that we're already doing all the time, and what first work does is it systematizes it and makes it automatic so that your smart device time can be something that is really spurring on really important learning and can also serve as a tool for parents to get really involved in this process where typically therapists are doing a lot of this work in the sessions, so really enabling parents to.

[00:10:47] Patrick Faga: Kind of take some ownership over the process and, you know, start to do a little bit of what the therapist is doing to, you know, generate more learning opportunities and drive home the outcomes of developing the early verbal skills. 

[00:10:58] John Cordray: Wow. Okay. So [00:11:00] let me, let me just unpack that a little bit. There's a couple of things that stood out to me.

[00:11:03] John Cordray: One, you said that the app first work, it prevents distractions. So let's say it's on a phone or a device and it prevents the kids from going 

[00:11:15] Patrick Faga: somewhere. Yeah, basically. So some of the time, basically there's a timer. So say you get 15 minutes of Netflix time and then you need to do one minute of work.

[00:11:25] Patrick Faga: That's essentially how it works. So you'll be watching Netflix for 15 minutes. It'll be restricted. You click one button, it redirects you to a learning task that you're already familiar with. You do that learning task, you click another button to go play and the next thing you know, you're watching Netflix again.

[00:11:39] Patrick Faga: So we can, we can start to lace in a little bit of work to really spread that learning out across the day. And then also, yeah, start to kind of reduce the, you know, purely entertaining element of smart devices and start to add a little bit more value in terms of development. 

[00:11:53] John Cordray: Wow. I like that. Thanks. So , that's a great, great idea.

[00:11:59] John Cordray: So you're [00:12:00] reinforcing learning. Yes. But also there's a reward part of that as 

[00:12:04] Patrick Faga: well. Yes. You know, that's the big insight essentially, is that kids spend eight hours a day on screens according to the cdc. And the reason they spend all that time is because they love it. You know, there's, there's a lot of awesome stuff on these devices and there's nothing wrong with that, but it, you know, should be something that we can leverage to generate outcomes, you know, in learning and things that we find important, as well as something that's just, you know, a reward sort of as a standalone.

[00:12:28] John Cordray: Exactly. And now we just need to make something like that for adults. 

[00:12:31] Patrick Faga: Yeah. , it's funny, a lot of people have mentioned that we're, we're definitely thinking about different ways to apply the, the core technology, cuz I do think that while the impact is highest and we're, you know, really keenly focused on helping kids with autism develop early verbal skills, we do think that there's, you know, broader applications for the technology and special education classrooms.

[00:12:51] Patrick Faga: And even, like you said, sort of managing screen time. You used to live a little bit more productive life if you're an adult. 

[00:12:57] John Cordray: Fantastic. I, I have some clients that [00:13:00] have a lot of adhd and in fact, one said that, that he just feels addicted to social media. Yeah, it's everywhere. Yeah. Yeah. And, and so he can't get things done that he wants to get done because of social media, but if something like this was for them or for him, he wouldn't be able to get on social media and he only could do the things that he needed to do, and then he would get rewarded to get on social media for a few minutes.

[00:13:24] Patrick Faga: First work, then play . 

[00:13:27] John Cordray: All right, so the other thing that you mentioned a little bit ago, it sounds like you want to put a lot of the work in the parents' 

[00:13:35] Patrick Faga: hands. Yeah, that's, that's something that's really important to me. One of the things that I noticed during my time as a therapist is that parents really wanted to be as involved as they could in the process, but it's a really dynamic changing process.

[00:13:47] Patrick Faga: The things that you're working on day to day change as you master out new developmental goals. And so sort of keeping up with the therapy process and being able to be involved is, is actually quite difficult even if you're spending tons and tons of time and energy on it, which all the parents [00:14:00] are. So, you know, one of the goals of First Work is to sort of, you know, generate a little bit of agency for the parents and allow them to really participate directly in the therapy process in a way that wasn't really possible before.

[00:14:12] Patrick Faga:

[00:14:12] John Cordray: love it. Wow. So, okay, First work. Where can first work be found? 

[00:14:20] Patrick Faga: We can find us online at www.firstworkapp.com, and you can also find us. Local ABA and SLP clinics. So we have some pilot partners. We're building out our technology right now and are gonna be launching in December. And so there are a limited set of therapy clinics that we're working with to really, you know, get the technology out there and do that early testing to make sure it works really well.

[00:14:42] Patrick Faga: And then as time goes on, we hope to have it be something that's available in really all ABA and SLP practice. 

[00:14:49] John Cordray: Nice. Okay. So if a parent is listening to this, it's not necessarily opened up to individual parents, do they have to go through a clinic? 

[00:14:57] Patrick Faga: So currently we are partnering with clinics [00:15:00] because the clinics actually use our application as well to sort of manage their internal data.

[00:15:04] Patrick Faga: So one of the things that we do is we are really pro data driven. And the most important thing with data driven learning is that you need to integrate all of the data. So we work with the clinicians directly so that we can integrate the data they're collecting when the sessions are running with the data that you're generating at home, sort of in this homework style learning, so that we really know exactly when you've mastered out your goals.

[00:15:27] Patrick Faga: So currently it is only available through. 

[00:15:29] John Cordray: Okay. Sounds like it's going to be opened up to many more clinics after you officially 

[00:15:35] Patrick Faga: launch. That's the plan. Yeah. You know, we've, we've gotten really great reception so far from the clinicians and are super excited to be, you know, rolling out all around the country.

[00:15:44] Patrick Faga: Well, that's 

[00:15:44] John Cordray: fantastic. I love to hear that it's coming. It's just gotta be a patient, right? Yeah. . So, All right. All right, So let's say you partner with a clinic, Uhhuh, and the families are working already with the [00:16:00] clinic, and the clinic offers this. Mm-hmm. first work, and then the parents are able then to work with their kids at home.

[00:16:08] John Cordray: Yes. Okay. So they don't have to keep going into the clinic all the time. Well, 

[00:16:13] Patrick Faga: that is something that I, you know, I think is really important to. We do not think that this is something that can replace therapists. We're not interested in replacing therapists, therapists, you know, add so much value. Really what we're thinking about for this is something that's augmenting the work that therapists are doing, creating more learning opportunities and generally, you know, kind of moving along the process a little bit more quickly.

[00:16:34] Patrick Faga: But this is something that, you know, is, is really important to be done in conjunction with an existing therapy practice, you know, that is finally attuned to your specific. 

[00:16:43] John Cordray: Yes, I totally agree with that. That's great. So we're, we're talking about young children here. Can you just tell me what the age range is?

[00:16:53] Patrick Faga: Yeah, so we're mostly focused with our initial curriculum on early verbal skills, so we're talking really early [00:17:00] verbal, so the categorization work that you need to do in order to understand language. Lot of matching and a lot of listener responding. And so the kids who are working on this are traditionally between about zero and five, and it's something that's really common with.

[00:17:13] Patrick Faga: One to three year old range of kids who are in in ABA and SLP clinics who are sort of just starting off on their journey in therapy. One of the first things that the kids tend to be working on is early verbal. I found that almost all the kids that I was working with, you know, were working on these early verbal skills, so we're mostly talking about kids who are sort of between two and five and, you know, kind of in that younger bracket.

[00:17:34] John Cordray: Yeah. So I, I would imagine you probably have talked to a lot of parents with this and, and maybe they've either there, there's a, a huge need in and they can't get the help that they need, or maybe they are parents that are getting help and you're talking. Is there a particular story that stands out to you?

[00:17:55] Patrick Faga: I think so That's a, that's a really good question. I think to [00:18:00] me, the thing that stands out the most is, is less a story and, and kind of, I guess more of a general story, you know, that you hear, you hear a lot, which is that there, there are so many kids out there who are. A little bit slow to develop some of their early verbal skills.

[00:18:15] Patrick Faga: And every, you know, people get very worried because they, you know, really want to see their kids talking and having, you know, great communication skills and being able to participate in all the things that, you know, we all really enjoy and love that involve verbal skills. You. And ABA and SLP therapy can really provide, you know, transformative outcomes to these kids who are, you know, a little bit slow to develop the language skills and with really careful attention from a therapist and a lot of hard work from both the kids and the parents and the therapist.

[00:18:45] Patrick Faga: You can see these just amazing, amazing results of, you know, seeing, seeing a, seeing a three year old, say mom for the first time, or things like that. I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's so powerful. And so there are, there are a million stories like that. Almost [00:19:00] every kid who goes through ABA and S L P honestly will have a story like that.

[00:19:03] Patrick Faga: So that general story, I think is the story that that I care a lot about is that, you know, there's, there's so many kids out there who. With, with the right support are able to, you know, really attain these goals that are, you know, that are really important and, and difficult to attain. And, and seeing that impact on the families and the kids and just the quality of life is something that's, you know, it's incredible.

[00:19:26] Patrick Faga: Wow, 

[00:19:27] John Cordray: I can't imagine finally hearing your child say mom 

[00:19:32] Patrick Faga: for the first time. Yeah, it's, I mean, I've, I've, I've had the privilege of, of seeing that before and I mean, it's, it's, it's a really profound thing, especially when it's something that's everyone's been waiting for and hoping for, and praying for, and you know, it, it, and then it finally happens.

[00:19:47] Patrick Faga: I mean, it's, it's, it's like lighten. Wow. 

[00:19:50] John Cordray: Yes. I love it. So there are a lot of parents that listen to the show and Patrick, what, what would be something [00:20:00] that you can, maybe some offer, some hope, maybe a little bit of encouragement to, could be a couple that just starting out in their, as a family and maybe their child is struggling with their early verbal skills.

[00:20:15] John Cordray: What would be something that you would say to encourage. 

[00:20:19] Patrick Faga: I think I'd, I think I'd have two things to say. One is that there are an in just, just an, there is an incredible community of therapists out there who will do everything they can to help your kid and you, you know, attain the goals that you have for your kid.

[00:20:33] Patrick Faga: You know, there is support out there and even though things often are a little bit slow going and seem touch and go, sometimes the results do come and, you know, consistency and just, just getting started with the process. You know, we'll, we'll get you there. And also I think that it's not something that's a zero sum game.

[00:20:52] Patrick Faga: There's really incredible technologies out there, like augmentative or alternative communication devices that allow kids [00:21:00] who aren't able to speak verbally the way that we might be or the way we are right now to communicate at an incredibly high level. So there was a recent story about a valedictorian of a college in the US who you know, gave her valedictorian speech on a tablet that was an asc.

[00:21:15] Patrick Faga: She doesn't, you know, speak the way that John and I are speaking right now, but she communicates at least as well as we do. Wow. So, you know, I think that there is hope and there are solutions and it's something that there are a lot of people spending a lot of time and effort on. And so I think that, You know, it's, it's a, it's a great time for these sorts of, of issues and, you know, things are improving by the day.

[00:21:39] Patrick Faga: Love 

[00:21:40] John Cordray: it. Very, very good. And you're right, things are improving every day. And that technology is bringing, it's making our, our world smaller, frankly. And sometimes technology gets a bad. But if you look at as, as a, as an, as a, an avenue of getting help that [00:22:00] you, maybe you've never been able to get help before.

[00:22:02] John Cordray: Yeah. That's, that's 

[00:22:03] Patrick Faga: huge. I know that's, that's I think the most exciting thing to me about, you know, behavioral technology and digital health is that there are, You know, there are these technologies that are, are quite simple that can have such a profound impact and, and, you know, alleviate parents of a lot of stress and make therapists lives a little bit easier.

[00:22:22] Patrick Faga: So it's, it's just a really exciting time I think for, for therapy practices in general. And, you know, things are, things are changing at a rapid rate in in a good way, I think. 

[00:22:30] John Cordray: Yeah, I, I, I completely agree with that. So tell me, we have a, a few minutes left and I would love to know. If you could project now we're, This is speculation.

[00:22:42] John Cordray: Projection. I, I get it. Sure. Where would you like to see first work in five years from now? 

[00:22:49] Patrick Faga: I think what I would like to see for first Work is providing a, a really broad adaptive curriculum that can keep up with the learning [00:23:00] needs and the pace for kids with special needs across the US and, and really across the world.

[00:23:06] Patrick Faga: We're, we're particularly focused on that population because we think that there's not enough attention being paid now on the technology front. And it would, it would just be so incredible to see a system that was, you know, Really robust and had all the curriculum that you needed to work at your own pace and not be entirely tied down to the school system.

[00:23:28] Patrick Faga: Where, you know, currently most of the work is happening. I think that, you know, providing, providing opportunities for the learning to be happening, you know, across the board and not just in one place. And, and for that, you know, for that group of people to learn whatever they need to learn is, is really our mission.

[00:23:43] Patrick Faga: Nice. 

[00:23:45] John Cordray: That's. Well, Patrick, tell us a little again, just to remind us, what, if someone wanted to reach out to you? Maybe they have questions, maybe it's a clinic and some, an owner or a founder of a clinic and they wanna learn more about First Work, [00:24:00] or a parent who wants to learn more, tell us again how to get ahold of you or First Work.

[00:24:07] Patrick Faga: You can find us at www.firstworkapp.com, or you can find us on LinkedIn at First Work Digital Reinforcement. 

[00:24:16] John Cordray: Awesome. Before I let you go, something that I, I try to ask all of my guests, I talk a lot about self-care and doing things to, to increase the, the feel good hormones in our brain, a neuroscience . I would love to learn a little bit about what you do for your own self 

[00:24:37] Patrick Faga: care.

[00:24:38] Patrick Faga: That's a great question. I love to work out. I think that's super important. It's something that's been a really central part of my life forever, and whenever I don't work out, I feel terrible. So that's something that is in the background for me all the time. And I think something else is, is just getting outside and enjoying nature.

[00:24:56] Patrick Faga: I, I got introduced to, you know, hiking and backpacking and [00:25:00] camping in my time in San Diego, which is just the most beautiful place in the world. And I've taken that, you know, that habit with me of, of just, you know, taking a. You know, smelling the roses, I guess, you know, slowing down a little bit and just appreciating the natural beauty if you get a chance or, or even the urban beauty.

[00:25:17] Patrick Faga: Like I, I was living in Philadelphia recently and I took plenty of walks around there too. It's not something that's it's not something that's only available if you live in the country. So that's, that's something that I've been really focused on recently and it's been, has been great for me. I love 

[00:25:29] John Cordray: that.

[00:25:30] John Cordray: And it doesn't have to be complex. Doesn't have to be expensive. You can just go for 

[00:25:34] Patrick Faga: a walk. Yeah, I know. That's, that's my favorite thing about walking. It's the cheapest form of affair ever. . 

[00:25:40] John Cordray: That's exactly right. Well, one of the things that I, my wife and I have been doing recently is riding bikes on trails.

[00:25:47] John Cordray: Oh, that's so fun. So we love it. We, we are, we are in St. Louis and so we are very close to a lots of. Types of parks and trails. So we got forest trails. We can [00:26:00] ride through the, through a forest onto reservations. We, oh man, we have subdivision type trails that we can go on and urban trails. So it's fantastic and we just love it.

[00:26:11] Patrick Faga: Yeah. That St. Louis is a, is a lovely city. By the way. I've, I've only had the privilege of being once or twice, but I I am envious of your, of your access to the natural world there. It just seems like the center of everything and has Pretty much every kind of natural beauty you're looking for.

[00:26:25] John Cordray: You're exactly right. And it is a gateway to America, by the 

[00:26:28] Patrick Faga: way. I I've heard that. . 

[00:26:31] John Cordray: It is a great, it's a great city that there's certain times of the year though, it gets really hot and really human, but you just stay inside for that . 

[00:26:40] Patrick Faga: Yeah. You get, you get all four seasons unlike That's right. Unlike San Diego

[00:26:44] Patrick Faga: Yep, 

[00:26:44] John Cordray: that's right. San Diego. That, that'd be a great place to live. But it's, it's perfect too much all the time and you 

[00:26:50] Patrick Faga: don't know. It's almost off putting. I know. It's, it's, it's, there's, there's something wrong with it. You're like, when's the other shoe gonna drop? It's gotta rain eventually. Right. And then you realize that it not raining is a problem too.[00:27:00] 

[00:27:00] John Cordray: That's right. Exactly. Well, it's been a real pleasure having you on Patrick and I, I just appreciate your, Well, I can just tell your passion and just your love of what you do and why you do what you do. We all have a big why and that came out very clear during this time. So I appreciate what you do and, and what first work is 

[00:27:22] Patrick Faga: doing.

[00:27:23] Patrick Faga: Hey, I appreciate you too. I, I really think that that this platform is so, I. Providing a space for people to talk about these important issues and, you know, kind of collaborate and communicate across all of our different silos and mental health is, is is so great. So thank you so much for chatting with me today.

[00:27:38] John Cordray: Absolutely. And I wanna thank all of you who are listening, and I know some of you might be brand new. and some of you may have been listening for a long time and I appreciate you so much and you'll never know how much I appreciate you. And one of the things I love the most is when people reach out to me, my listeners.

[00:27:56] John Cordray: And I would encourage you if you want me to talk about a [00:28:00] specific topic or if you just wanna talk and say, Hey, I'm struggling. I want to encourage you to go to our website at mental health today show.com. Again, that's Mental health today, show.com. And you can reach us and let us know what you want us to talk about.

[00:28:17] John Cordray: I appreciate you all, and I wanna encourage you to continue to work on your mental health. Remember, the Mental Health Today Show has been championing your mental health since 2015. Take care. 

Patrick FagaProfile Photo

Patrick Faga

Founder | CEO

Patrick is an edtech entrepreneur building a learning system that enables kids in developmental therapy to work on some of their therapy goals after the session is over. Much of the work in developmental therapy is iterative, and thus can be worked on at home after initial introduction and familiarization.

Patrick has a masters degree in Behavioral and Decision Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelors degree in Behavioral Neuroscience and Philosophy from the University of San Diego.