The University of Washington was recently granted $3.9 million from the National Institute of Health to continue a program that uses tablets as a way to detect early Autism, a condition that now affects one in every 68 children.
Dr. Wendy Stone, who has been leading UW in the development of the new Autism detection technique, explains that the grant money will be used to purchase tablets that will assist physicians in diagnosing children with early Autism. Parents will be able to fill out the web-based M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers) questionnaire using one of the tablets in the physician’s office.
The goal of having parents fill out the M-CHAT is to help doctors detect Autism as early as possible, and the tablets could assist tremendously. Often times doctors become too busy, and follow-up questions for the M-CHAT are not addressed. The tablets, however, can and will help parents thoroughly complete all parts of the questionnaire.
Dr. Stone, who has been researching Autism since the 80’s, points out that although there is still no definitive cause or cure for Autism, early detection is the best possible way to hinder the disorder.
“Twenty-five years ago, when we diagnosed autism it was in older children and we would have to say to families, ‘Your child has Autism, and your child is always going to have this disorder.’ Now when we diagnose at 18 months or 24 months we say it’s a whole different story for parents.”
ICare4Autism has been a great advocate and source for parents needing help with early detection. Early detection can make a huge difference in the life of a child living with autism.
Mara Papaleo, Kent University