It was recently reported that Apple will be lending a hand with Autism research. I think this is great news when it comes to learning more about Autism in it of itself.
Apple said this week that autism is one of three new conditions which will be ResearchKit which is an open source framework system which will allow scientists to collect data through iPhone apps.
The app is called “Autism & Beyond” that will take advantage of Apple’s ResearchKit technology. Duke University researchers are planning to collect information from families around the world to test whether a smartphone app can reliably screen kids for who have Autism. The app will include a parent questionaire in the app itself as well as a short video series for the child to watch. The app is designed to elicit various emotions. When using the iPhone’s camera function, analytical software within the app which will assess the children’s facial responses while in use.
Researchers have said that they hope to collect information from children ages 1 to 6. Three times each over the course of 6 months. the parents will also recieve feedback, which could include tips for addressing behavior issues along with other addressing behavior issues or a recommendation that they would seek further evaluation for the child.
“Our goal is to develop a screening, like hearing or eyesight at schools,” said Guillermo Sapiro, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke. “They don’t get glasses — they get a referral.”
If the app is successful, researchers have said that app-based screening could help identify children with autism at younger ages allowing them to enter intervention programs sooner and see better outcomes long-term.
“It is simply not possible to train enough people to meet the need for early childhood diagnosis,” said Helen Egger, chief of Duke’s Division of Child and Family Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience. “This may be the only way to get screening out to more people.”
The first launched six months ago Apple said. More than 100,000 people are currently participating in the ResearchKit studies looking at everything from asthma to Parkinson’s disease along with Autism. Apple said that new projects will also focus on epilepsy and melanoma.
I definitely didn’t expect that Apple would ever be lending a hand in researching Autism. I think this is a set in the right direction as a person who a has Autism and is advocate as well. If there is more knowledge about Autism it can lead to bettering the care for those who have Autism. I hope that the research also focuses on adults who also have Autism since there is a need for learning more about Autism in adults as well.