In the past week, I was emailed by Jena Daniels, the Clinical Project Coordinator in Dr. Dennis Wall’s lab at Harvard Medical School, and asked if I would help (via this blog and various social media outlets) to get the word out about The PuzzleMouse Project. Please take a moment to read about this important study and participate if you can! Their team is seeking caregivers of children between the ages of 14 months and 7 years with and without a developmental delay. Your participation will help ensure children and families everywhere get the attention they need as early and often as they need it!
If you know of other parents, teachers, or caregivers that would be willing to help with the survey, please share with them, too! Thanks so much!
Do you have a child who is between 14 months and 7 years of age? If yes, our team at Harvard Medical School would love your help with our developmental delay research project. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the first signs of a developmental delay and an appointment with a diagnostic specialist.
Currently, families wait an average of 13 months for an autism diagnosis. It requires extensive behavioral analysis by highly trained professionals and takes up to four or more hours. In minority and financially disadvantaged communities, the delay between first concern and diagnosis averages even longer.
At the Wall Lab, we’re developing machine-learning methods that could help reduce this unacceptable delay. We are testing the effectiveness of our technology through our PuzzleMouse Project . This project asks parents to complete a short questionnaire and upload a brief video of their child interacting with others in a natural environment – for instance at home or on a playdate.
From this information, our machine-learning methods produce risk assessments in minutes rather than hours. Based on our preliminary analyses, it has an accuracy greater than 92 percent when compared to a gold-standard clinical diagnosis. If the accuracy is confirmed through further testing, we see great potential for using the assessment to shorten the time between initial concern and early intervention for autism. Detect early. Intervene early!
We are now just months away from completing a mobile version of our system for rapid detection of autism. But we need your help! Please consider participating in our study by following this link to our website. Whether or not your child has been diagnosed with autism or is at risk for autism, you can make a difference for countless children and families going through the diagnostic process in the years to come.
Just to summarize, your participation will include:
Submitting a short survey: You will complete ten questions about your child’s day-to-
Uploading a 2- to 5- minute video: It should show your child in a social situation such as a birthday party, playdate or even a day at the park with your family.
Thanks so much!
Read more about Dr. Wall’s award-winning PuzzleMouse Project here.
The Wall Lab Team: working on ways, by looking at genes and behaviors, to bring solutions to families.