Supporting Autism Diagnosis Using Home Videos

A delayed diagnosis of autism can prevent early interventions that have been shown to improve developmental outcomes. Our research team developed a mobile phone-based telehealth application that allows parents to easily collect in-home videos of their child’s behavior and share them with a diagnostician for remote diagnostic assessment for autism. Using a web portal, diagnosticians can guide the video collection, access the child’s developmental history, review and tag the videos, and complete the diagnostic assessment.

Interviews with clinicians and families guided the initial design of the smart phone based video recording application and the diagnostician portal. The system was subsequently refined based on the experiences of families who were asked to use it in a controlled homelike laboratory setting. An in-field evaluation of the system was conducted with three diagnosticians and five families, four with a child with a previous diagnosis on the autism spectrum and one with a typically developing child. Results showed that 96% of the in-home videos were rated as clinically useful in supporting a remote diagnosis of autism. For ten of the eleven remote diagnostic assessments that were completed via the web portal (91%), the clinician arrived at a diagnostic outcome that matched with the child’s previous diagnosis. This telehealth approach to remote autism diagnosis is currently being validated in a larger trial with families referred for a diagnostic evaluation.

Nazneen, Nazneen, Agata Rozga, Christopher J. Smith, Ron Oberleitner, Gregory D. Abowd, and Rosa I. Arriaga. “A Novel System for Supporting Autism Diagnosis Using Home Videos: Iterative Development and Evaluation of System Design.” JMIR mHealth and uHealth 3, no. 2 (2015).