Thursday, February 24, 2011

Clinic Notes: Diagnosing Autism Redux

Every clinician knows that the earlier autism is diagnosed and treatment started the better. Unfortunately, autism is not diagnosed until the child is between 2 and 3 and a delay in language sends up the autism flag. Recently at Children's Hospital in Boston researchers using brainwave data from an electroencephalogram (EEG) and a high tech computer analysis were able to correctly identify 9-month old infants who were likely to develop autism with a 80% success rate. Of course, this diagnostic tool must be replicated with another sample of infants, but the results sound promising. The next problem will be in getting the insurance companies to pay for services for a nine-month old infant who statistically has a chance of developing autism.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Clinic Notes: iPad Hypnosis of Children with Autism

In a previous blog, I discussed the iPad fascination that children with autism have. Just about every child with autism that I have handed my iPad to has become enthralled, almost hypnotized, and quickly learned to navigate through different iPad apps. At the Children's Treatment Center for Autism or Related Disorders we are testing Discrete Trial Training (DTT) apps that we have developed, several are in the iTunes store now, (Autism Colors and Autism Shapes) and they are being well received. Other apps that are being developed by us and other developers are also doing very well. As I reported in a previous blog the iPad works much better for kids with autism than the touch screen computer. No one has a clue why this is so. The new iPad, coming sometime this spring, will be different. I only hope the children will find it just as hypnotizing. In my 40 years of working with these special kids I have never seen anything like this.