Autism screening with smartphone? Yes! This is a bold, big idea that can work if done right.
There’s now an app that researchers use to screen for autism. The app uses Apple’s Research Kit technology. Duke researchers are involved.
Researchers seek to collect information from families around the world to test whether a smartphone app can reliably screen kids for autism.
The app includes a parent questionnaire and includes a series of short videos for the child to watch. The videos are designed to elicit various emotions. Using the iPhone’s camera function, analytical software within the app will assess the children’s facial responses.
Researchers hope to collect information from children ages 1 to 6 three times each over the course of six months. Parents will receive feedback, which could include tips for addressing behavior issues or a recommendation to seek further evaluation.
“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.”
There are major league problems of course. Privacy of information for one. All sorts of data gets stolen these days and such a huge collection of information about people is invaluable and can be misused.
This particular research at Duke University plans to collect data only three times over six months from the same child. Results would be much stronger if results were taken for the same child over a much longer period of time — from age one to age four for example. Six months and three snapshots of the same child is just a snapshot for a very small period of time relative to general development of language and social abilities. But this is a beginning and parents may find this app useful whether to seek additional assessment.
If you are a parent in California wondering whether your young child has social development delays or other delays contact your local Regional Center and ask for Early Start Services. Early Start services assist children with developmental delays from birth to age three. California Regonal Centers provide Early Start services.
If you suspect that your child has substantial delays in several areas your child may be eligible for ongoing California Regional Center services at age three. Whereas in 2009 approximately 1 child in 155 had autism as of 2015 one (1) child in 66 has autism.
As substantially more children at being diagnosed with autism it’s reasonable to expect that more children in California (those with substantial delays in several areas of functioning and a recent, valid diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder) will be eligible for ongoing Regional Center services at age three.
If you suspect that your child may be substantially delayed in several areas, before the age three request assessment for ongoing Regional Center services. Check the website for your local Regional Center as to exactly what you need to do to request ongoing Regional Center services at age three.
For children ages 0-3 living in Santa Cruz county, Monterey county, San Benito county and Santa Clara county contact: http://www.sanandreasregional.org/early-start/
As many children with autistic spectrum disorder symptoms have behavior problems which can substantially affect overall safety of the home ongoing Regional Center services after age three can be quite helpful for parents.
If you live in Santa Cruz County and want additional information concerning your child’s developmental delays, you may contact licensed psychologist Cameron Jackson PSY14762 for a free initial screening.
Dr. Jackson’s office is in Santa Cruz, CA. (831) 688-6002 DrCameronJackson@gmail.com
Why huge increase autism 1990 to 2000? Nine (9) of 10,000 kids born in 1990 got autism. Ten years later, in 2000 forty-four (44) in 10,000 had autism.
Enviornmental causes? Yes. It’s time to focus on metals, pesticides and infectious agents says researchers at M.I.N.D.
A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted — and the trend shows no sign of abating.
Published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology, results from the study also suggest that research should shift from genetics to the host of chemicals and infectious microbes in the environment that are likely at the root of changes in the neurodevelopment of California’s children.
“It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California,” said UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute researcher Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of environmental and occupational health and epidemiology and an internationally respected autism researcher.
Many researchers, State of California organizations and advocacy organizations view rise with skepticism says Dr. Iva Hertz-Picciotto.
The M.I.N.D. research is based on data provided by the California Department of Developmental Services. The DDS research was published in April, 2003 and is available on the California Department of Developmental Services website.
We know there is a huge increase in autism. In 2009 there was 1 in 150. Now in 2015 one child in 65 that have autism. That’s a huge increase.
So are children getting identified earlier and receiving California Regional Center services any earlier than in 2005?
Are parents in 2015 who get California Early Start services requesting assessment for on-going Regional Center services at age three?
If you suspect that your child is not developing normally in social communication abilities and your child is under age three you can request assessment by your local Regional Center psychologist for ongoing services.
If your child has a valid diagnosis of autism and is substantially handicapped in three (3) life areas your child may be eligible for on-going Regional Center services.
M.I.N.D. researchers say that California state agencies are skeptical about the rise of autism.
The facts are there. Why are California state agencies skeptical? Perhaps agencies are skeptical because on-going services for autism are expensive?
On the website for the Department of Developmental Services on the right side under publications you can find all the DDS publications available for download as a PDF file.
Contact Cameron Jackson DrCameronJackson@gmail.com for further information
Follow the money.
Money matters. Pay your staff the going rate and you’re more likely to retain staff.
And if you want to encourage turnover? Then pay your staff less than the going rate.
Both regional centers (Golden Gate and San Andreas) pay $126 K for their Human Resource Directors. The Human Resource top job requires a Master’s degree. The job does not require a license.
The San Andreas Human Resource Director has had the job for five years. That HR Director is well paid.
In contrast, it looks like San Andreas Regional Center does not want to retain Psychologists. And — Golden Gate wants to retain their Psychologists.
Top pay for a Psychologist is only $72 K at San Andreas Regional Center. In contrast, top pay at Golden Gate is $93K – a difference of $21 K. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
What is the going pay rate for Psychologists? It varies. The County of Santa Cruz pays $93 K for their Psychologists. Kaiser Permanente in San Jose pays $133 K.
Currently, San Andreas Regional Center has 2 jobs available for Psychologists. One Psychologist position for San Andreas Regional Center has been advertised more than a year. Perhaps there are no takers because San Andreas pays low and does not want to retain Psychologists?
At San Andreas Regional Center, where can a Psychologist go up from Psychologist? San Andreas Regional Center hires an Autistic Spectrum Disorder Clinical Coordinator for $110 K. That position is filled and the person filling the job has been around many years. $110K for the highest paid Psychologist at San Andreas is within the range between $93 K for a County government job and $133 K paid by the private sector (Kaiser).
Recently in 2015 the overall chain of command structure at San Andreas Regional Center structure changed substantially. The #3 top management job went to someone closely associated with the current top executive Javier Zaldivar. This person used to be a district manager for a branch office. This person may a Master’s degree. After the top executive and the second in command (both men), currently two women hold top management positions #3 and #4. All those top management positions (#1, #2, #3 and #4) are highly paid positions which do not require a license or a Ph.D.
San Andreas Regional Center describes itself as a community oriented, private non-profit corporation. NOTE: Non-profit does not mean that management is paid lowly wages. Far from it. San Andreas Regional Center top management are quite well paid. And it looks like $126 K for a Human Resource Director is the going rate.
Why does San Andreas Regional Center choose to pay so low for Psychologists? Does the agency deliberately encourage turn over? Comparing the numbers of Golden Gate Regional Center with those for San Andreas Regional Center — the answer is YES.
The current head of the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is Santi Rodgers. For more than 15 years Santi Rodgers was the top executive for San Andreas Regional Center. Mr. Rodgers moved to Sacramento and was replaced by Mr. Javier Zaldivar.
Mr. Javier Zaldivar continues the policy of very low pay for licensed Ph.D. Psychologists. The very low pay policy was the policy of predecessor Santi Rodgers, now the top executive for California Department of Developmental Services (DDS).
Follow the money. There are reasons for very low pay for Psychologists hired by San Andreas Regional Center. YES — always follow the money. written by Cameron Jackson email@example.com
CA Regional Center fails the sniff test.
Consent is a big deal. Written consent starts many important things such as: Will you marry me?
Will you have my child? Will you co-sign on a loan?
I consent that my child receive special education services. Yes consent is a big deal. For many reasons.
However, when it comes to consent, San Andreas Regional Center fails the sniff test. And this is probably true for other Regional Centers of which there are 21 in California.
Exactly how San Andreas Regional Center fails the sniff test is described below. First, some comments why consent is so important. Think about consent in general and why written consent is important:
Most people understand that consent matters and is a big deal. For example, everybody goes to the doctor. Everybody who goes to the doctor has to sign a consent for release of confidential information. Everybody knows that without written consent records cannot be sent electronically. Thus most people have some understanding that signed consents matter and are a big deal.
Another example: Many children get Early Start services. Early Start services are provided by California regional centers such as San Andreas Regional Center. Parents must sign written consent before assessment will start. No consent signed? Then no assessment and no services.
Many children who receive Early Start services improve considerably. Some children, however, make little or very slow progress in their social skills and how well they manage change.
Some of these slow developing children show substantial symptoms suggestive of autism. Early Start is required by law to contact the local public school and set up what is called a “transition” meeting.
Some children with autistic symptoms may be eligible for ongoing regional center services under the California Lanterman Act
Given the above, might think that before any assessment occurs for Lanterman eligibility for ongoing services that someone legally responsible must give written consent. That would logically follow. But, no.
Guess what! No written consent is obtained by SARC when children transition out of Early Start and may be eligible for ongoing services.
This is when CA Regional Center fails the sniff test.
San Andreas Regional Center SARC does not get written consent prior to assessing Early Start children who might be eligible for ongoing services.
This CA Regional Center only gets written consent one time — prior to assessment Early Start services.
So what? Does it matter that San Andreas Regional Center does not get written consent from Early Start children who might transition to ongoing services at age three?
Yes! No written consent translates into no current medical or school information will be obtained and thus not available forreview by the psychologist who assesses that child.
And, as a result a less than minimum report may be produced by CA Regional Centers based on limited or out of date records. Does this pass your sniff test? Nope.
This kind of behavior — where CA Regional Centers may meet the minimum requirements of the law but fails to implement best practice guide lines for the assessment of autism –should stop.
It is time that all CA regional centers meet the guidelines recommended by the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) for the assessment of autism in young children. San Andreas Regional Cener knows what those guidelines are. It’s time that this CA Regional Center met those guidelines willingly.
It all starts with consent. Yes, consent is a big deal. And consent leads to obtaining and sharing current information about young children some of whom have substantial autistic symptoms. And some of these children can and should be eligible under autism for ongoing regional center services at the age of three.
Should the public and parents require regional centers to get consent prior to assessing for autism? Yes. Consent if a big deal for many reasons. And then act on that consent. Get up to date, current medical and school records after getting consent. Yes, consent is big deal and matters.
What you can do: email your California representatives and say it’s high time that Regional Centers meet best practice guidelines for assessment of autism. Contact your local public schools and ask them to pressure the Regional Centers to get parent consent and use up to date standardized tests when testing children for autism and other developmental disabilities. And contact the California Department of Developmental Services to put pressure on specific regional centers such as San Andreas so that they will more fully meet best practice guidelines.
Did you know that the former boss of San Andreas Regional Center is now the top boss of the agency (DDS) that writes the best practice guidelines? He is Santi Rodgers and his email address is available on the DDS site. Let Mr. Rodgers know that you want best practices used when children are assessed for autism.
CA Regional Center fails sniff test.
Yes, San Andreas Regional Center seems in the dark regarding autism. There are 20+ regional center services that provide services to substantially disabled persons in California diagnosed with autism and other developmental disorders.
But maybe SARC is just whistling in the dark – hoping that the criteria and the number of children getting diagnosed with autism will change soon.
For sure, San Andreas Regional Center keeps some families in the dark about autism.
For example, look what San Andreas Regional Center incorrectly wrote to one family when the agency denied services. The statement below paraphrases what the family received and is not an exact quote. The letter states:
Autistic Spectrum Disorder is diagnosed when the impairments in communication and social interactions are pervasive and sustained and not supported by ….
The letter referred to was signed by the San Andreas Regional Center specialist for autism. This person knows and sets policies.
Note the use of the word “communication” in the denial for services letter. What!! That is so misleading!
When making a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder the clinician must state whether the child with autism has or does not have communication difficulties. Yes – using the DSM5 criteria for autism — children can be diagnosed with autism and not have communication difficulties.
First of all, this denial letter is not accurate concerning the child’s possible “communication” deficits. The issue is social communication difficulties not whether this child can verbally communicate.
Secondly, this SARC denial letter leaves out any discussion whether the child has restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior or activities.
To summarize, SARC leaves out one main area [restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior or activities] and the other area [social communication and social interactions] is discussed incorrectly. This above quote is from the letter one family got from SARC as an explanation why their child has been denied California regional center services.
What SARC aka San Andreas Regional Center should have written:
Autism is diagnosed when there are “Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts…” and those social deficits are coupled with “restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history….
The diagnosis of autism changed dramatically when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition (DSM-4) was replaced by DSM5.
You decide. Is SARC in the dark, whistling in the dark or keeping some families in the dark about autism?
Diagnostihttp://www.icd9data.com/2012/Volume1/290-319/295-299/299/299.0.htmc Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder
DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER
- Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive):
- Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.
- Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and non-verbal communication.
- Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive):
- Stereotyped, or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g. simple motor stereotypes, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).
- Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior (e.g. extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat same food every day).
- Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g. strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).
- Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g. apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).
- Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capabilities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).
- Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
- These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level.