New Autism Video Therapy Introduced Via an App

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A new form of video self-modeling therapy for children with autism is being introduced by way of an app called Ther-Ad for Autism (Therapeutic Advertisements for Autism), helping to recognize April as National Autism Awareness Month.

New Ther-Ad App for Autism.

Numerous research studies have shown that video self-modeling may help children with autism and related disorders to increase desired behaviors and to consequently decrease problem behaviors at the same time.

A new form of video self-modeling therapy for children with autism is being introduced by way of an app called Ther-Ad for Autism (Therapeutic Advertisements for Autism), helping to recognize April as National Autism Awareness Month.

The new app was developed by a team at Data Makes the Difference and mHealth researcher Dr. Michael Kelley, who has published articles on using mobile phones for relapse prevention. Ther-Ad is designed to be an evidence-based therapy that will also improve the efficiency of applied behavioral analysis. It runs on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Numerous research studies have shown that video self-modeling presented by a parent, teacher or behavior professional may help children with autism and related disorders to increase desired behaviors and to consequently decrease problem behaviors at the same time.

Ther-Ad works by allowing a student to watch motivating media, such as a movie, that is occasionally paused at an interval. A short self-modeling video is then presented to the student who watches the clip of himself engaging in a behavior that parents or instructors wish to encourage. After the video self-modeling clip finishes, the student is automatically reinforced by being returned to the motivating movie.

Video content is uploaded directly to Apple® iTunes, so that each student’s needs are tailored with appropriate motivating videos and individualized self-modeling clips.

“Modeling is one of the established treatments listed in the National Autism Center’s National Standards Project,” said Liz Maher, MEd, BCBA, and co-owner of Data Makes the Difference. “So it’s very exciting to be able to offer an app that uses this type of evidence-based practice.”

As a mHealth application, the development team believes the features of Ther-Ad will generate larger effects on autism, with a much broader range of clients, and do so efficiently, relative to other forms of video self-modeling therapies.

Initial testing to quantify the effectiveness of video self-modeling as a pivotal training approach is underway with John Loveland, clinical director of the Loveland Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Loveland’s encouragement to pursue the concept for the app was vital in moving the development process forward since the idea’s inception one year ago with Dr. Kelley.

According to the Autism Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. It affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. There is no known single cause for autism, and its prevalence has risen to one of every 110 births in the United States.

Ther-Ad is available in the Apple iTunes store, and regular upgrades are being planned to roll-out to users over the next year.

For more information, contact Steve Maher, at steve(at)datamtd(dot)com, or Dr. Michael Kelley, at michael(at)datamtd(dot)com. To purchase the app, click here. Follow Data Makes the Difference on Facebook and on Twitter.

About Data Makes the Difference, LLC
Data Makes the Difference, LLC, is a software development company that creates applications for the iPhone and most other mobile devices. Founded in 2009 by the husband-and-wife team of Steve and Liz Maher, the firm’s important work has already helped hundreds of children with autism live better lives. Nearly 2,000 behavior professionals are already using its first app, Behavior Tracker Pro, to capture, track and analyze behavioral data on an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, BlackBerry, Palm or Android device. Its second app, Skill Tracker Pro, was released last September. Its latest app, Ther-Ad, integrates video self-modeling. All apps are available on the Apple iTunes store. Visit datamtd.com.    

Contacts:
Steve Maher or Liz Maher
Co-Owners
Data Makes the Difference, LLC
570-332-2285
steve(at)datamtd(dot)com

Michael Kelley, D.Phil.
Scientific Director
Ther-Ad
808- 398-9941
michael(at)datamtd(dot)com

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