It's the rare mom or dad who's never spent a sleepless night wondering "Is my kid OK?" Developmental issues, in particular, can be a nightmare to classify and confirm. Normal variations between children may mean that a milestone delay is nothing to worry about; for another child, when seen in context with other symptoms, that same delay may justify an evaluation by a professional.
That's why the Questioning Autism? app for iPhone, released earlier this month, is an interesting and useful tool. With 12 straightforward educational questions, the app helps guide parents who may be concerned about a young child in preparing feedback and comments for a conversation with a pediatrician. It's not intended to diagnose autism or related disorders, but can help parents understand the signs and symptoms of autism.
Parents can annotate each answer, so that their emailed or printed notes are available when discussing particular behaviors or incidents. At the end of the question panel, parents can tap through to web resources and further tools.
The Questioning Autism? app is the brainchild of Brooklyn-based UX guru Michael McWatters, who tells the story of his own family's struggles at his ASD Dad blog. Michael and his wife have twin sons, one who has autism and one who is neurotypical. Their pediatrician dismissed their concerns about their son's developmental arc for some time, so Michael's blog is intended to help other parents combat the anxiety and isolation that may come with parenting a special-needs child.
Although there are other screening apps for mental health, Questioning Autism? is distinguished by a few factors: it's free, it's gracefully designed, and it's drawing on the real-life experiences of a parent who has been through the challenges and frustrations of a child's autism spectrum diagnosis. You can download it or other apps from ActiveHealth Management on the App Store now.
[hat tip Ditmas Park Corner]