La Trobe autism app wins state iAward

La Trobe University partnered with Salesforce to develop an early detection app to empower parents and caregivers to identify autism earlier and more accurately than ever before.

The free app – called ASDetect - won the Project of the Year iAward in the Research and Development Category. Since its launch in February 2016, ASDetect has more than 6,000 registered users, with over 3,700 assessments undertaken to date. .

The iAwards are Australia’s leading awards program for innovation in the digital economy. They honour both companies at the cutting edge of technology innovation as well as leading professionals in the sector.

The judges identified ASDetect as an outstanding example of both.

The app uses questions drawn from breakthrough research at La Trobe’s Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC), undertaken by Research Fellow Dr Josephine Barbaro. It gives parents access to video footage from actual clinical assessments and clearly demonstrates the context and expected key behaviours of children at each age.

An estimated 1 in 50 children have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research by PhD candidate Cathy Bent at OTARC shows that the majority of these children are not diagnosed until they are over four years old, more than two years after they can be reliably diagnosed and receive life-changing intervention.

Salesforce developed the ASDetect app on a pro bono basis as part of the company's 1-1-1 integrated philanthropy model, where the company donates 1% of its employee's time, its products and its equity to support the not-for-profit sector. A team of Salesforce engineers, designers and developers volunteered their time to build the app on the Salesforce platform.

OTARC Director Professor Cheryl Dissanayake said the award was wonderful recognition of the ground breaking early autism detection work being done at La Trobe.

‘In partnering with Salesforce – our early identification methodology – is now available to parents around the globe who may have concerns about their very young children’s development. The app – while not a diagnosis can provide a crucial opportunity for prompt professional follow up – and maximise a child’s learning and developmental opportunities.’

ASDetect is now nominated for a national iAward in September.

Media; Catherine Garrett 9479 6565 / 0418 964 325