Could Telemedicine Work For Autism Therapy? Vanderbilt Experiments

autism136Ask someone who has a child diagnosed with autism about wait times for lining up services, and they measure in months. The backup is only expected to build as the number of children on the autism spectrum balloons. Vanderbilt is now trying out a stopgap to squeeze in more kids — telemedicine.

Modern technology makes treatment via video conferencing relatively simple to set up. Vanderbilt’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders just ships families an iPad on a special tripod controlled from afar.

Alacia Stainbrook from Nashville directs this program at Vanderbilt’s autism center in Nashville. She has a $3.25 million grant from the state’s Department of Education to use telemedicine for both autism diagnosis and therapy. Around the country, therapists have been experimenting with video sessions over the last couple of years, primarily to reach families in rural areas as well as in cities that lack specialized autism services.

Researchers in Iowa found that this kind of teletherapy was still effective. And it was done at less than half the cost, mostly by cutting travel expenses. Therapists spend lots of time on the road since sessions are ideally conducted in the homes of children, where their young patients feel most comfortable.

Excerpt from a post on the Nashville Public Radio website, a National Public Radio station. Read the full post. Listen to an audio version of this story below:

Source: Nashville Public Radio | Could Telemedicine Work For Autism Therapy? Vanderbilt Experiments, | © 2018 Nashville Public Radio

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