Mobile app helps parents and pediatricians detect autism in infants as early as eight months
SOMERSET, N.J., July 17, 2014 — After years of collaborative research and development in the field of autism, child development experts at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and information technology innovators at WebTeam Corporation have unveiled a powerful new screening tool capable of detecting signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental delays in children as early as eight months old.
Michael Lewis, Ph.D., founding director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Autism Center, and Nish Parikh, CEO of WebTeam Corporation, a global leader in the field of autism management technology, announced the availability of EARLYThree, an easy-to-use iPhone and iPad application downloadable on iTunes. The useful app allows parents to track and record their child’s behavior at regular intervals so, if necessary, they can raise concerns with their pediatrician.
“Early signs of autism often go undetected,” observes Dr. Lewis, “simply because there are not enough physicians around the world to screen the growing number of children with autism. An ideal time to identify early signs of autism is when a child is six to eight months old, although symptoms may appear anytime during the first three years.”
“Finally,” Dr. Lewis added, “we have a tool backed by years of clinical research and pediatric practice that has a proven degree of accuracy in the early detection of autism at our fingertips. This is a breakthrough for parents and pediatricians everywhere.”
EARLYThree is the culmination of more than 50 years of research on child development, including five longitudinal studies involving 12,000 children, conducted by Dr. Lewis and principal colleague Tara Anne Matthews, MD, FAAP, while completing her three-year fellowship in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Research findings, combined with clinical pediatric practice, led Drs. Lewis and Matthews to collaborate with WebTeam – winner of the 2014 Verizon Powerful Answers Award for its autism management technology – in developing a functional tool to help parents and pediatricians screen for signs of autism at its earliest stages.
EARLYThree contains sets of questions that help pediatricians and parents examine a child’s behavioral and communicative development at regular intervals to determine if the child is at risk for autism spectrum disorder. The app allows for periodic evaluation at a child’s most critical stages of development – eight, 12, 15, 18, 24 and 36 months. At the end of each screening session, users can view results in a tricolor band of green, yellow and red. Green indicates that a child does not show signs of autism. Yellow indicates that the child is on a stable course of development, but should be monitored for signs of autistic behavior. A red result warns that the child’s cognitive abilities are not at the appropriate stage of development and parents should seek further medical evaluation. The user-friendly interface includes options to add multiple video, text and voice notes that can be shared among pediatricians, parents and other caregivers.
“EARLYThree is part of an integrated solution to managing autism,” commented Mr. Parikh, whose company has launched ColorsKit – a one-of-a-kind autism management package that could effectively address the global challenge of autism. “We have the resources to enhance existing autism-related teaching tools and build powerful new educational software using assistive mobile technology,” Mr. Parikh added.
Autism is the world’s fastest growing developmental disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 U.S. children (virtually one on every school bus) has an autism spectrum disorder. While the importance of early autism screening is well-documented in medical literature, delays in diagnosis are common.
About Michael Lewis, Ph.D.
Michael Lewis, Ph.D., is a University Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, and director of the Institute for the Study of Child Development at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is a professor of psychology, education, and biomedical engineering and serves on the Executive Committee of the Cognitive Science Center at Rutgers. The founding director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Autism Center, Dr. Lewis received his Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Pennsylvania in both clinical and experimental psychology.
Dr. Lewis’ research has focused on normal and deviant emotional and intellectual development, and his early work focused on the normal course of children’s development. This enabled him to articulate the sequence of developmental capacities of the child in regard to intellectual growth and relate this to changes in the organization of central nervous system functioning. His discoveries of techniques to measure CNS functioning, through the use of the habituation-dishabituation paradigm, are widely used throughout the country for measuring and predicting dysfunctional growth as well as normal cognitive development. Using these measurement instruments, Dr. Lewis has developed computer-based techniques for enhancing intellectual ability in children suffering from a variety of disorders associated with developmental delays. These include children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, preterm infants, and children with cerebral palsy.
Dr. Lewis has written and edited over 40 books many of which have been translated into other languages, including German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Danish, Japanese, and Portuguese.
Read more about Michael Lewis, Ph.D.
Watch this short video pitch for EARLYThree here.
About Tara Anne Matthews, MD, FAAP
Tara Anne Matthews, MD, FAAP is a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, NJ. She has over 30 years of experience with children, and has worked in a variety of clinical settings (hospital and primary care) as a general pediatrician. She completed her three year fellowship in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where she has collaborated with Dr. Michael Lewis on several projects related to child development and autism.
About WebTeam Corporation
WebTeam Corporation was incorporated in 2005 in New Jersey to design, develop, and promote technologies for education and distance learning and training. It began as a technology development subsidiary of Rangam Consultants Inc., a company specializing in professional staffing services.
At the 2014 International CES, WebTeam’s innovative autism management technology received global recognition, when Verizon awarded the company $500,000 in its Powerful Answers Award Contest.
Media Contact: Nish Parikh, WebTeam Corporation, 9086270016, email@example.com
SOURCE WebTeam Corporation