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Phoenix autism researchers developing tool for Web

PHOENIX — Researchers at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix are working on technology that could speed up the diagnosis of autism.

Doctors agree that the earlier children are diagnosed and begin treatment, the better chance they have at reaching their full potential. The problem that many parents face, however, is finding someone who can diagnose their child.

“Since in Arizona there’s a handful of specialists that can diagnose autism, the waiting lists can be very long,” said Christopher J. Smith, SARRC vice president and research director.

While parents wait for a diagnosis, a child with autism is missing out on valuable treatment that could impact his or her future learning capabilities.

Using new technology to expedite the process, SARRC has partnered with Behavior Imaging Solutions and Georgia Tech to develop an online platform and app that will help parents connect with specialists.

“Professional will create the diagnosis of autism when possible,” Smith said. “The professionals may interact with you through the app. We may send you text messages or leave messages for you on the platform.”

SARRC said the new development could save about one year’s time in the diagnosis and preliminary treatment process.