An online tool created by researchers at Harvard Medical School claims it can make the process by which young children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders far more efficient by having parents use an online tool to see if their child needs early interventions like speech, physical, and occupational therapies. HealthDay News reports:
The process relies on seven questions plus a short home video of an individual child.
The research team said its method could reduce by nearly 95 percent the time it takes to diagnose autism and could be easily included in routine child screening practices, greatly increasing the number of at-risk children who get checked for the disorder.
"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," Dennis Wall, an associate professor of pathology and director of computational biology initiative at the Center for Biomedical Informatics, said in a medical school news release.
The survey is currently available online, as researchers continue to gather data on its effectiveness. The current version of the survey is for parents of children who already have an ASD diagnosis. Though the online tool is intended to streamline the diagnostic process so parents and clinicians alike can save time and start therapies earlier, parents should always discuss developmental concerns with their child's pediatrician.
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