Boise, Idaho — It wasn’t long since medical technologies firm Behavior Imaging Solutions announced that— in partnership with several research centers— it was able to come up with a system called Naturalistic Observation Diagnostic Assessment or NODA. Autism first reported this story earlier this year in Research, Clinicians & Smartphones Answer the Call for Families Worried About Autism. NODA is attempting to come up with a solution that will address the growing problem of long wait-lists that hinder children who may have autism from getting early diagnosis.
Providing early intervention to children with autism is believed to be very crucial in order for them to achieve their full potential, and it is not at all possible if they could not be given a diagnosis at the earliest possible time.
The number of children found to be on the autism spectrum appear to have been growing exponentially over the years, and it has become increasingly difficult for clinicians to accommodate the often overwhelming amount of children trying to get a diagnosis.
Ron Oberleitner and his wife Sharon experienced this problem first hand, when they were trying to figure out what was happening to their child, Robby.
It wasn’t until Robby was three years old that his parents finally got a specialist to give him a diagnosis, and they thought the entire 18 months they spent waiting for him to get a diagnosis could have been spent getting treatments instead.
They wanted to do something to help other children benefit from interventions earlier than currently possible, by helping them get their diagnosis sooner.
So Robby’s dad later on came up with a technology they decided to call NODA.
Ron thought making use of the technology that’s already prevalent in the market today will help eliminate the long waitlists that children who are later on diagnosed with autism have to endure. He told:
“Diagnosis is the place to start, and with the diagnosis you, by and large, can get treatment.”
“It’s a crime not to help a family get a diagnosis so they can begin early intervention for their child, if they have instincts that something is going wrong.”
After much research and collaboration with several firms such as Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), Georgia Tech, and Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Robby and his team came up with NODA, which is now fully operational and available for families and caregivers to use.
NODA includes an app that allows parents and caregivers to capture videos of their children in prescribed situations, which they can upload to a secure site that clinicians can remotely access, allowing them to provide assessments sooner than conventionally possible.
Robby’s wife, Sharon, is in charge of the marketing and customer support aspect of the firm. Behavior Imaging makes about $300,000 in earnings each year, and Sharon says they are aiming to make the service more affordable by persuading organizations to purchase memberships which, in turn, they can offer to families.
Today, the company is expectant that they will be granted another $1 million federal grant that’s good for three years, which should let them bring their technology to rural areas where about 40 to 50 children will undergo diagnosis through NODA, linked to a clinic that specializes in autism in Moscow, Idaho.
According to Ron:
“Our passion (is) to really help our own child and the growing number of children around the world who have autism.”
Source: Audrey Dutton on the Guelph Mercury website: Parents create app for diagnosing autism