Category Archives: Resources

Research Kit – a great tool for Researchers

Some great news from Apple, no it’s not the Apple Watch, but rather a great tool for iOs developers called Research Kit.

Researchers struggle to enroll participants in clinical trials in sufficient numbers, and most measures of autism-related behaviors are subjective. The iPhone and iPad have sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, cameras and microphones. These can be leveraged to collect data e.g. repetitive movements etc.

Apple Research Kit

It helps researchers create apps by providing templates for components such as mobile surveys and behavioral tests that harness the phone’s sensors. This has now opened the doors for researchers to a lot of possibilities in regards to gathering valuable information from iPhone sensors for their studies.

For example if you want to monitor motor skills you can have an app that is engaging and fun for the child.

Informed consent is crucial to these research studies and this can be signed electronically and includes a short quiz that tests the user’s understanding.

On the privacy front,  Apple will not have access to the data. Researchers will have to protect that data after transferring it from users’ phones.

Discovering Emotions with Zeely has built in fine motor skill tasks and If you are a researcher and would like to have a custom app built connect with us and we will build it for you.

Georgia – Special Needs Services

Parent to Parent of Georgia have put together an excellent database for special needs. Searches can be by categories, provider name or more specific by age, hours of operation and accessibility.

Special Needs Database - Georgia

Special Needs Database – Georgia

Fragile Kids Foundation – provides healthcare grants for equipment, ramps etc. They meet several times a year to review applications so check their website to deadlines.

Brain Injury Association of Georgia – Resources and events

National Down Syndrome Congress – Resources and events

gTrade – is an online database where people may list assistive technology items for sale, donation, or things they need. It is for Georgians with disabilities and their families.

DSM-5 and Social Communication Disorder

Way back in 1840 there was a need by the government to classify mental health which lead to the census including the categories; mania, melancholia, monomania, paresis, dementia, dipsomania and epilepsy. Further developments evolved to the publication of the DSM in 1917, which was embraced by the Bureau of the Census. It was called the Statistical Manual for the Use of Institutions for the Insane and was created by the Committee on Statistics of the American Medico-Psychological Association (now the American Psychiatric Association) and the National Commission on Mental Hygiene. The committees separated mental illness into 22 groups. The manual went through 10 editions until 1942.

Today the DSM-5 is short for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. It is a classification and diagnostic tool by the American Psychiatric Association which is widely used by various organizations, clinicians etc. in the field to aid in the diagnosis of mental disorders, health care payments, insurance, policy and more. Although this has been developed in the U.S.A. it is very influential around the world, therefore the update from version 4 to 5 was highly criticized.

DSM-5

DSM-5

The diagnoses of Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder – NOS, and Asperger’s Disorder has been replaced by a single category entitled Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The DSM-5 includes a new diagnosis, Social Communication Disorder which refers to impairment of pragmatics and is diagnosed based upon difficulty in the social uses of verbal and nonverbal communication in a natural context and low social communication abilities which result in functional limitations.

The DSM-5 does have a large impact on the healthcare and educational system and if you are a parent or caregiver that has been impacted by this version do connect with us and share your story, you are not alone.

Autism Speaks does answer some questions about DSM-5 and they have an Autism Response Team if you need further help.

Although the current version is not perfect we do have to keep in mind that we still have a lot more to learn about the human mind, it’s connection to the rest of the body, geography, environment and more.

Criticism leads to debate which in turn leads us better understanding. So although the experts are divided about the DSM-5, lets continue the dialogue.

 

 

 

 

 

Special Needs Roadmap

If you are a parent reading this post, you can relate to this scenario very well. You get the psycho-education evaluation for your child and then what? You turn to your doctor and the school for help.

Your child’s doctor can only recommend drugs as a solution to the problem however you know that in most cases that is not the only solution. There is some thing more however you don’t know what it is.

You are not sure how to articulate the problem to the school as you don’t have the right words.

You don’t know where and how to get help for your child.

It then becomes this crazy, time confusing and frustrating journey to find out who, what and where. This could take several years and those years are often the most crucial ones, as that is when your child needs the interventions and therapies to develop those lagging skills.

A few mothers gave up their valuable time and have put together this great special needs roadmap for schools. Read it, it will give you the information you need so that you can focus on getting the right help and advocating for your child.

Ontario Special Needs Roadmap

Ontario Special Needs Roadmap

This is focused on Ontario, Canada however if you are a parent from another region read it as it will give you an idea of the process and you might have something similar in your region. Better still if something like this does not exist, get a group of parents together and build one.

Either way connect with us and we will spread the word.