App for autism screening showing promise
A tablet-based screening application for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has shown promise in early detection, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The app, Sense2Know, demonstrated a high sensitivity of 87.8% in identifying children with ASD, with a specificity of 80.8%. This technology may help health care providers ensure that children and families receive the necessary support by accurately identifying toddlers who require further investigation for ASD. Traditional ASD screening methods using parent questionnaires are less accurate, particularly in primary care settings, which can lead to disparities in early diagnosis and intervention. The Sense2Know app records and analyzes children’s responses to short movies to identify various behavioral patterns associated with ASD. The study found that combining this app with the standard questionnaire improved the probability of a positive screening leading to a later diagnosis. The authors emphasize the importance of linking children with positive screening results to appropriate referrals and services to reduce disparities in access to early diagnosis and intervention.