New Way Of Detecting Autism Early

By: Brittany Gunter Email
By: Brittany Gunter Email

Detecting autism early can be critical for a child's future. Now a doctoral student at UNO has created a new system to help with that diagnosis.

Like most kids, 6-year-old Trey Kiernan loves to play, but what sets him apart is he sometimes plays differently because he has autism. He was diagnosed at age 3. “He had speech delay and he had just other behaviors that seemed odd and that's when we found out he did in fact have autism,” said Trey’s mother Renee Kiernan.

Early detection made all the difference. “Because of the early intervention services we received he is able to participate in a classroom and his speech is up to the point that makes him successful at school."

Senior doctoral student at UNO Joshua Haworth wants all autistic children to be that successful, so he created a system that could test kids even earlier than 3 years old. By testing a child's eye and body movement he can diagnose a child early on. The research could also potentially help with a treatment down the line. “Basically observing how children develop moving skills and how that leads to social cognitive behaviors later in life,” said Haworth.

With 1 in 88 children now diagnosed with autism, it’s research that's more important than ever. “The earlier that we can intervene, the better off the outcomes down the road,” said early childhood supervisor Kristy Feden.

If you are interested you can contact Haworth at 402-554-3225 or at jlhaworth@unmc.edu.


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