I have a lot to be thankful for despite all my daily gripes. When I look back on our experiences with Quentin, I am very grateful that we were able to detect autism early enough and get a diagnosis for PDD-NOS. Not that I *want* this label – but most professionals agree that getting a diagnosis means you can obtain the necessary schooling, therapies and services to help. Not every parent knows what to look for, or even whether to question their pediatrician about behaviors and problems. I was certainly in this boat, for the most part pretty clueless about what autism was and what to look for. I am grateful that we figured this out sooner rather than later.
So is my friend, Michael McWatters – a.k.a. ASD Dad. Michael and I originally met because we discovered that we were both living in Brooklyn with twins – but we also both had one twin on the Spectrum. His son, Colin, not only struggles with ASD but also a rare lung disease that had him on a respirator for the first few years of his life. (Scary!) Like me, Michael had many concerns that it could be autism early on, but had trouble describing what he saw to his pediatrician. This experience inspired him to help others; he just created and released a new app called “Questioning Autism?”
The app is not a diagnostic tool (this is clearly stated as soon as you begin), but intended as a way for parents to document what they see and then share it with doctors. It was built by Netsoft-USA (his company) in collaboration with one of their long-standing clients, Active Health Management. Basically, it consists of 12 yes/no questions. For each question, you can get examples of what is being asked, as well as take notes on why you are answering the way you are. After answering all 12 questions, the app does tell you if you should be concerned about autism, with the caveat that this is not a diagnosis but something you should discuss with a doctor. You can then email the details of your observations to yourself, your doctor, or anyone else you trust. You can return to the app to answer the same questions at a later date, or answer the questions with another child. As a bonus, there is a great resource section, with early warning signs by age, Early Intervention, and links to other web resources.
Finally, we are able to say “Autism? There’s an app for that!” It’s not a cure, and not the final say in a diagnosis. It is, however, a handy tool for so many parents that suspect something in their child. Best of all, it is free.
This Thanksgiving, be grateful for what you have, and share this app with a loved one who might be struggling to figure out their child.