Show Details

Autism Videos

April 21, 2014

Home videos could be a tool for lowering the age of autism diagnosis.



YouTube in the clinic. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

An undergraduate scores behaviors in YouTube videos of children. (Dennis Wall)

A college student collects behavioral data from YouTube videos of children. (Jena Daniels)










Behavioral therapies for children with autism are most effective when started early. But many children aren’t diagnosed until the age of four. Stanford geneticist Dennis Wall thinks home videos could help lower that age. His team had college students watch 100 YouTube videos of young children and score behaviors such as eye contact and social play. By watching just a few minutes of video, these non-experts were able to correctly detect autism 97% of the time. Wall thinks in the future, home videos could become a screening tool. Parents who suspect their young child may be at risk for autism could visit a website…

DENNIS WALL (Stanford University):

…and upload a couple of home videos of their child in their natural environments and get in return, very quickly, information about risk, and what to do next.


Home videos could also be used to monitor the effectiveness of behavioral interventions over time. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.