A recent study has revealed that crowdsourcing can be just as effective as expert clinicians in recognizing some indicators of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children.
This is useful because it could help to lead to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of autism at a time when budgets are stretched and access to professionals is challenging.
“I really believe technology and the wisdom of the crowd,” said Emily Myers, a UW Medicine paediatrician and the medical director of the Infant Development Follow-Up Clinic. She was the lead author of the study, published in the International Journal for Autism Research.
“I could see this eventually streamlining the diagnosis process. Not every child needs a multi-team diagnosis.”
For various reasons, some families can wait more than a year to see a specialist which can lead to a delay in the administration of potential treatments.
For their study researchers recruited about 70 crowd workers as well as three behavioral experts from the UW School of Medicine and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Both groups observed videos of 18-month-old children taken from an earlier study.
While there were differences of opinions regarding children in the middle of the autism range, opinions were aligned about children at either end of the range.
Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment
The findings were in line with what researchers were expecting to see. And while they are not currently advocating for members of the crowd to participate in the screening, diagnosing or treating of ASD, they say it could be possible with further study.