Research Assistants, Joy Joseph, MPH and Dahlia Al-Haleem, MSES under the supervision of Dr. Anne Montgomery, have teamed up with Dr. Sarah Rotschafer, Assistant Professor, Mercer University School of Medicine, for the analysis of demographics and symptoms of autism that lead to testing for autism in children. The data collection and organization was managed by Dr. Rotschafer, and led to approximately 700 patient intake forms filled out by parents of children with suspected autism spectrum disorders. The symptoms of autism, such as speech delay, developmental delay, and sensory issues that often lead to testing for autism, are suspected to be the same reasons parents bring their child in for an official assessment. The purpose of the work that the Center and Dr. Rotschafer are conducting is multidimensional with data analysis being only part of a larger puzzle. The data analysis will provide information on parental awareness of their child’s developmental milestones, and which signs of autism are most recognized and most overlooked. Through the analysis, the team hopes to find better solutions and ways to address symptom recognition of autism spectrum disorder, especially in rural areas where there are fewer referrals.
Article submitted by Joy Joseph, MPH, PhD Research Assistant