Researchers Develop Smartphone App Using Video For Early Intervention





The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that parents of children with ASDs tend to report concerns regarding vision and hearing as well as social and motor skills within the child’s first year and studies show that ASD diagnoses at the age of 2 can be reliable and valid. The theme of ASD treatment today is early intervention, but navigating available, medical resources can take many months. The Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, in collaboration with Behavior Imaging Solutions and the Georgia Institute of Technology, is developing a Smartphone application that streamlines communication between specialists and parents, expediting diagnostics. The application, to be called the Naturalistic Observation Diagnostic Assessment, will allow parents to upload videos of their children’s behavior for professional assessment. If successful, this application could enable earlier treatment and therapy, and increase diagnoses in rural areas where parents have less access to specialists. The program is not intended for ongoing treatment, but is a diagnostic tool intended to accelerate intervention. The National Institutes of Health is funding the app development with a $2.2 million grant. Testing will begin this summer and is intended to be available by 2014. According to the CDC, the average age of diagnosis is currently 6. Studies show the significance of early intervention for the development of communicative abilities and motor skills, but physicians are often hesitant to diagnose a disorder that manifests itself behaviorally. This app would allow physicians prolonged insight into the behavior of the child, rendering confident, early diagnoses. Vice President and Director of Research at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, Christopher Smith, asserts that diagnoses should occur before a child turns two to allow for therapy and specialized education in early development. The cost of these app-based diagnoses has not yet been defined.

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Scott, Eugene. “App Aims for Faster Autism Diagnosis.” USA Today. Gannett, 13 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. <>.

New Tool To Find Autistic Children Who Have Wandered

Pierce County is using cell phone technology and a fitted personal device to track down people who have wandered outside of the safety of supervised environments.

Autistic children lacking a natural sense of danger may go out on their own in search of one of their favorite locations – anything from their local park, body of water or train tracks.

Parents of children with autism and an adventurous spirit have long had cause for concern. Locks can only do so much as children grow, get smarter and have more desire for freedom.  Project Locate, which uses this technology, is providing families a great deal of relief. 

Made by Texas-based EmFinders, the EmSeeQ device works on the same technology that can locate a cell phone’s position. The device looks like a bulky old-style digital watch, works on a rechargeable battery and can be worn on either wrist or ankle.

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