The numbers are staggering. Two new government studies have found that one out of every 100 children in the U.S. has some form of autism.
Sometimes, getting that diagnosis can take years, but a Boulder non-profit has developed a technology that can help diagnosis a child earlier, allowing for a more effective intervention.
The Lena Foundation created a kit consisting of a questionnaire, a T-shirt and a voice recorder.
The voice recorder is placed into a shirt pocket and records a childs words and sounds for 16 hours before it is sent back to the Lena Foundation.
A computer is then used to extract the details of the details of sounds and language that the foundation has identified as being unique to children with autism.
"The processing does not involve recognizing the words that are in the audio recording. We look at specific features and acoustic properties from a statistical point of view," said Jill Gilkerson, Director of Child Language, LENA Foundation.
The foundation recommends the screen be used for children between two and four years old, which can lead to earlier detection with 91 percent accuracy.
Betty Lehman of the Autism Society of Colorado calls it "a wonderful moment in the history of autism as we know it. Because treatment cuts the cost of long term care by two thirds so this is an important discovery for all taxpayers and citizens."
The Lena language and autism screen costs about $200.
Results are usually available in about two weeks.
For more information about the Lena language for autism screening, visit www.LenaBaby.com
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