Parental Evaluations: Mobile Tools to Evaluate Autism
When my oldest was about two years old, my wife and I knew something was wrong. He wasn't talking, he was very clingy, he couldn't sit in one place for very long, and loved to stare closely at a wall while walking. We knew something was wrong, but didn't know what it could be. After several tests and an expensive visit to the state pediatric psychologist, we found out our son had autism.
For our second son, we saw the signs right off the bat. He was slower at speaking, had huge separation anxiety issues, and had trouble with loud noises. We suspected autism, and this time waited for the school to diagnose him. In the mean time, we started with the same programs for both boys, essentially giving our youngest some ABA therapy before his diagnosis. By the time he was 3, we had the diagnosis of autism.
Parents spend more time with their young children then teachers or therapists. They tend to be sensitive to behavior, particularly if that behavior is deemed odd or unusual by society. So it makes sense that, given the correct training, parents can accurately identify autism behaviors in their children. If only they had the resources.
Well, WebTeam Corporation is looking to do just that. By using a series of yes/no questions, parents can evaluate their children for autism at critical developmental stages. The results will be indicated in either Green, Yellow, or Red. Green indicates normal developmental process, Yellow indicates more attention is needed, and Red indicates a need to consult with a doctor.
The app looks to be an iPad app, and there is no word in the article about platforms. Still, here you are looking at a tool that is proactive in involving parents in their child's developmental process and helping them identify indicators as early as possible. The sooner they identify autism, the sooner they can start therapy which provides a better chance of integrating their children into "normal" society.
I've talked quite a lot in the past about the need to get parents involved in the autism process, more so than they ever have been. Since my oldest was first diagnosed, I have seen some school districts hold information and training classes for parents of those with autism. And now, evaluations are being made available to parents to help identify the development of their children, which is expediting the diagnosis process. This is critical for children on the spectrum, so they can get the help and resources they need before it's too late.