How Telehealth Services Are Helping Children with Autism


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In the age of coronavirus, demand for telehealth services is projected to skyrocket, according to Time. Already, many people are benefiting from trying telehealth services, including children with autism. During social distancing or quarantine, parents of children with autism may reach out to doctors remotely to help their children receive care, including medical advice and health care services. If you’re curious about telehealth and autism, there are several advantages of using this high-tech, easy-to-use method of communicating with doctors.

Telehealth may speed up the pace of diagnosis

It isn’t just parents who already know their children have autism who may benefit from telehealth services. Parents who suspect their children may have autism can also able to access fast and efficient assistance from physicians via respected telehealth platforms. Since one in 54 children are somewhere on the autism spectrum, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and early diagnosis is helpful, parents who worry about autism should contact doctors via telehealth to ask questions and get the right medical advice.

According to Healthline, early diagnosis and treatment empowers kids with autism to understand their own issues and connect with those who can help. Parents often struggle with emotional turmoil when their kids are diagnosed with this disorder, which includes symptoms such as speaking later than average, avoiding eye contact, withdrawing from social activities, and displaying little empathy. However, parents should also feel empowered to find the right treatments for their kids and to start making changes in their homes to ensure that it’s safe for their child. Parents are therefore encouraged to try telehealth when they have questions about autism that only a doctor can answer to create the ideal environment at home. 

How do doctors help via telehealth?

While certain tests may only be performed in person, such as innovative tests that measure inflammation in the brain, a doctor will be able to assess some aspects of a child’s health and development during a telehealth appointment. For example, some doctors watch videos of children’s behavior to assess it. Assessments may be used to adjust medication or to look for telltale signs of autism, with a mind to moving towards a diagnosis. Children may be screened for autism from 18 months of age onward, so parents should aim to set up an appointment as soon as they have any concerns.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study, which was aimed at making it easier for doctors to diagnose autism remotely. New tools for telehealth service delivery, which were designed just to diagnose autism in children, were used to perform first consultations lasting 60 minutes or less. These tools show promise and may be used to help children three years of age or younger. Before too long, new telehealth tools may be used by pediatricians in your area, if they aren’t being used already.

Autism therapy may be available via telehealth services

Children with autism frequently benefit from a form of therapy known as ABA (applied behavior analysis). As telehealth services evolve to meet the needs of parents and children with autism, ABA therapy that’s delivered remotely will become more commonplace. With ABA therapy, specific behaviors are analyzed in addition to learning skills, and goals are set to improve these behaviors and skills. This form of therapy is most effective for children under age 4. 

Now that you know more about autism and telehealth, consider utilizing telehealth services to get expert advice about autism. As of 2017, 10 percent of Americans used telehealth services, but the coronavirus pandemic is changing the face of modern healthcare delivery. Telehealth offers hope to children with autism, as well as greater peace of mind for their parents.

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