Harvard Medical School researchers have put together a highly accurate DIY autism diagnosis website that could significantly reduce the complexity and time of the diagnostic process. With the recent rise in incidence of autism to 1 in 88 children, the need for accurate and widely deployable methods for screening and diagnosis is substantial.
Harvard's Dennis Wall has been working to address this problem and has been developing algorithms to detect autism rapidly and with high accuracy. The algorithms consist of a small set of questions and a short home video of the subject, to enable rapid online assessments. This procedure could reduce the time for autism diagnosis by nearly 95 percent, from hours to minutes, Wall suggests. "This kind of rapid assessment should provide valuable contributions to the diagnostic process moving forward and help lead to faster screening and earlier treatment," he said.
The traditional diagnostic surveys for autism can be prohibitive for families and caregivers because they are lengthy and have to be administered by a licensed clinician, often in an environment that is unfamiliar to the child, which can be a tremendous burden for families in remote areas, said Wall. "With this mobilized approach, the parent or caregiver will be able to take the crucial first steps to diagnosis and treatment from the comfort of their own home, and in just a few minutes."
"We believe this approach will make it possible for more children to be accurately diagnosed during the early critical period when behavioral therapies are most effective," he concluded.
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Source: Harvard Medical School