Does My Child Have Autism?
This question is one of the most common autism-related Internet searches today. Perhaps you can relate to that feeling, when you’re watching your child and realize… Something’s Different! Your child might be taking longer to speak, s/he doesn’t look into your eyes, or s/he is not playing like other kids. Could it be autism? Below are some early autism signs to look for.
Remember, just because one or a couple of these are present, it doesn’t mean your child has autism! A formal diagnosis currently requires a team that may include a pediatrician, psychiatrist, speech-language pathologist, behaviorist, and psychologist. And it’s often difficult to reliably diagnose autism until the child reaches the age of two.
By far, the most important thing is to get going with early interventions as soon as possible. What does this mean?
Substantial research shows that if focused programs and techniques are used to help a child with physical, thinking, communication, social, and emotional skills before preschool age, the “plasticity” of the brain at this point provides the best chance to maximize his or her development potential. With early interventions, some autistic children make so much progress with their social and language development that they no longer qualify for services when they’re a little older. At least one study suggests that about 14% of autistic children no longer qualify for an autism diagnosis after two years, cited from an intensive program, the Early Start Denver Model. As a result, we will be doing an article with advice on early intervention methods you can try at home in a future issue.
While early intervention techniques should be started as soon as possible -- whether your child turns out to have autism or not (and there’s nothing more effective than parent-assisted early intervention) -- you will undoubtedly still be wondering about a possible autism diagnosis if your child is displaying any of the above signs.
We want to help parents detect autism earlier so to increase your child’s access to early intervention services. We’re developing a diagnostic tool that could be a game-changer for parents.
This “game-changer” tool anonymously screens for autism using speech samples. Our Evaluative Artificial Speech Intelligence-Autism Screener (EASI-AS) project is give scientific name (NSF/SBIR) Phase II grant, expanding on the work from our Phase I grant.
EASI-AS will feature cutting-edge machine-learning technology that reliably screens for autism by identifying non-linguistic acoustic features, extracted from recordings of children’s speech. The system will use familiar mobile devices to collect speech samples, which employs a user-friendly interface that parents and professions can operate with little-to-no training.
In order for our system to work, we need your help!
To ensure that the technology properly differentiates between autistic and non-autistic children, we need lots of data from both populations. We’re collecting anonymous speech recordings from a variety of children. The recordings will help train the system to identify the unique acoustic traits that are often present in autistic children’s voices.
To contribute recordings to the project, please visit www.easi-as.com today! If you have any questions about EASI-AS and our Phase II SBIR work, please contact us at email@example.com. Each participant will not only help with creating tools that can screen for autism as early as 18 months, but, as a thank you, participants will enjoy a free digital subscription to the Autism Digest for a whole year.
 Estes et al. "Long-Term Outcomes of Early Intervention in 6-Year-Old Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. July 2015, Volume 54, Issue 7, Pages 580–587.