Friday, 02 September 2016 19:31

Salesforce, La Trobe Uni develop autism early-detection app


An app developed by Salesforce and La Trobe University, which empowers parents and caregivers to identify autism earlier and more accurately than ever before, has been awarded the AIIA’s iAward for project of the year.

Since its launch in February 2016, the free app — ASDetect has more than 10,000 registered users, with over 6500 assessments undertaken to date.

The app uses questions drawn from breakthrough research at La Trobe’s Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC), undertaken by research fellow Dr Josephine Barbaro, and gives parents access to video footage from actual clinical assessments and clearly demonstrates the context and expected key behaviours of children at each age.

An estimated 1 in 50 children have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and research by OTARC shows that the majority are not diagnosed until they are over four years old, more than two years after they can be reliably diagnosed and receive life-changing intervention.

Salesforce developed the ASDetect app on a pro bono basis as part of the company's 1-1-1 integrated philanthropy model, where the company donates 1% of its employee's time, its products and its resources to support the not-for-profit sector.

A team of Salesforce engineers, designers and developers volunteered their time to build the app on the Salesforce platform.

OTARC director Professor Cheryl Dissanayake said the AIIA award was “wonderful recognition of the ground breaking early autism detection work being done at La Trobe”.

“In partnering with Salesforce — our early identification methodology is now available to parents around the globe who may have concerns about their very young children’s development. The app, while not a diagnosis, can provide a crucial opportunity for prompt professional follow-up, and maximise a child’s learning and developmental opportunities.’

Dan Bognar, senior vice-president, Asia Pacific at Salesforce, said: “We are thrilled to win this prestigious Australian award, it is a huge testament to OTARC's vision and the innovation that only Salesforce can deliver. The award highlights the disruptive power of cloud and mobile technology to unlock groundbreaking research and create a positive social impact globally. We thank our team of Salesforce volunteers for their teamwork and dedication in bringing this incredible initiative to life – it has touched so many children's lives already.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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