Evaluation of the implementation of technological supports to optimize the delivery of early intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)


In Quebec, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects at least 1.2% of children. This disorder is characterized by difficulties in communication and by repetitive behaviors that affect the person throughout his life. The best practice for improving the quality of life for children with ASD is to offer Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (ICI-P) before 6 years of age. This service is expensive and requires the presence of a caregiver for each child with ASD, about 20 hours per week, to teach them concepts. One possible solution to reduce costs would be to use an application on a tablet to carry out part of the teaching. This makes it possible for the parent himself to supervise the teaching that would be done by the tablet. This would increase the intensity of services without increasing costs, reduce the number of hours with a worker and / or offer the service to more children. The researcher in charge of the project has developed a tablet application for teaching children with ASD. Two research studies have shown that the app can be effective in teaching children with ASD. It has been observed that the majority of children show generalization in a real-life context following education with a tablet. Our project will evaluate the application when it is used at home by the parent with the child. If the study results are positive, the application will be distributed free of charge in Quebec. Adopting it could save millions of dollars annually and reduce waiting lists for ICI-P services.