Early autism detection at parents’ fingertips

23 February 2016

Bernie Hobbs interviews Dr Josie Barbaro about her autism researchThe new ASDetect app, developed by Menzies Scholar in Allied Health and psychology Research Fellow, Dr Josie Barbaro, has taken the world by storm with over 5000 downloads in the first week.

The app, which was created by La Trobe University in partnership with Salesforce, the world’s largest customer relationship management company, helps parents by providing details of the early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the things to look out for. Early detection of these signs is the key to early intervention and more positive long-term learning outcomes for children with ASD.

Josie’s decade-long research into the early detection of ASD with over 30,000 children, is behind the questions and videos on the app, which help parents spot the ASD ‘red flags’. The app is being promoted with the tag line ‘it’s better to ask’.

“ASDetect is an empowering tool for parents who may feel their children are developing differently than expected and are looking for answers. The new ASDetect app is an ideal way to share proven techniques with thousands of parents.

“This is not a replacement for professional assessment; however ASDetect will provide parents with an indication as to whether they should seek a professional opinion from a doctor at a time when intervention will have the biggest impact,” said Dr Barbaro.

Josie’s research started with her PhD at La Trobe on "Prospective Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Infancy: The Social Attention and Communication Study". She completed her PhD with the help of a Menzies Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences, and this research continues to be an area of fascination for her as well as one which is helping parents and young children in Australia and around the world.

Over 43 media outlets covered the story of the app in the first few days following its release and the message is certainly reaching parents.

Already close to 2000 assessments have been completed using the app.

If you want to hear a bit more about the ASDetect App, here is Josie’s interview with Claire Bowdich on ABC radio in Melbourne: https://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/peEDnxeE2Q?play=true

And if you’d like to download the app for Andoid or iOS, just go the app store and search for ASDetect or find it at asdetect.org

Caption: Dr Josephine Barbaro is pictured with ABC science journalist, Bernie Hobbs, at a Menzies Foundation event

Tags: Menzies Scholar Allied Health Autism