Technology April 21, 2021
Digital platform ScreenPlay helps with early childhood testing for developmental disorders
ScreenPlay, a digital-based screening tool by Kidaura Innovations, aims to enable early testing of children for autism and other developmental disorders. So far, the platform has tested over 1,000 children in India.
Signs of autism and other developmental disorders start showing up early in children, between the ages of 18 to 36 months. In children with borderline autism however they tend to get missed out on or get mistaken as developmental delays.
This can be avoided with ScreenPlay. This is a digital-based screening tool by Kidaura Innovations that enables early testing of autism and other developmental disorder between the ages of three to six years. The child’s response to a series of visual-based interactive games indicates if the attention of a specialist is needed.
Early screening of autism is key
ScreenPlay is a digital-based testing platform made up of a set of tablet-based games and helps capture the true nature of the child without making him/her feel assessed. Moreover, we can record minute details the naked eye can’t even comprehend. Also, artificial intelligence (AI) lets us extract and analyse patterns in the child’s gameplay which helps in predicting the potential risk of autism and other related disabilities. – Shiv Kumar, Co-Founder, Kidaura Innovations
A social initiative, the four founders of Kidaura Innovations aim is to enhance lives of families by testing children while they are in their formative years of growth and development. They found support for their mission at the Digital Impact Square (DISQ), the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Foundation initiative that fosters digital technology-based innovations which meet social challenges.
“At DISQ we got an opportunity to work and research on developmental disabilities in children and found out that children with disabilities are missed out in their golden period of three to six years, which led us to where we are right now”. says Kumar, “with a tool to help identify children at potential risk early”.
Quick diagnosis of autism & developmental delays
Until now, ScreenPlay has helped with the early testing of over 1,000 children for autism and developmental disorders in two states in India.
“Our journey has shown us that the school ecosystem is sensitive towards the child’s overall growth and development”, adds Kumar. The difficulty lies in early identification of the challenges the child may be going through. Schools take months to identify developmental delays, while ScreenPlay does this in 15 minutes of gameplay.
“Many children have developmental delays but they go undetected by doctors and school authorities are clueless as well leading to conflict situations”, says Dr Uma Bachhav, a developmental paediatrician at Milestone, Learning Centre for Developmental Disorders, an ecosystem partner in the ScreenPlay project. The Nashik-based centre reaches out to children with a range of disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, learning disorders, among others.
ScreenPlay, says Dr Bachhav, can help prevent this as experts can now identify developmental delays in children earlier. “We have been working with the team for the last two years and we have fine-tuned it after a lot of trials”. ScreenPlay, she believes, has an edge over existing tools as it is “not very verbal dependent, mostly visual and therefore child-friendly and applicable to a range of situations”.
It takes diagnosis out of a clinic-based setting into the home, adds Dr Anjana Wankhede, Principal, Oasis Montessori, a pre-school in Nashik, and project partner. “We held a drawing competition in school where we used a ScreenPlay game programme that uses colouring skills to test children”. ScreenPlay helped flag signs of autism and other developmental disabilities really early, when they are as young.
Early testing of children for autism and developmental disorders will help ensure they do not miss out on the golden period of development and growth. Early intervention and therapy is critical given that 75% of the brain development takes place in this age group. ScreenPlay offers a fun, game-based way to do this.
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