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FDA approves New Autism Diagnostic Tool

Exciting strides were made in the field of Autism diagnosis this month with Pediatric Behavioral Health Company, Cognoa finally earning FDA approval for their diagnostic tool – Canvas Dx. Read on to learn how this innovative new software is changing up the traditional autism diagnostic procedures and routines.

Canvas Dx is a machine learning-based software program that utilizes an amalgam of learning algorithms, videos of the child’s behavior, and responses to questions uploaded by parents and caregivers to supply an earlier ASD diagnosis. This tool was created to aid in the determination of ASD in younger patients, aged 18 months to 5 years old. Of course, this program is not meant to be used in a vacuum, instead, Cognoa sees its device as a support system to provide guidance to parents, caregivers, or healthcare providers who suspect their patients may be at risk for developmental delays. CEO of Cognoa, Dave Happel hopes this momentous breakthrough will make “early diagnoses more accessible to children and families – regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, zip code, or socioeconomic background.” 

Today, about one in 54 children in the United States is affected by Autism (ASD). Autism is a developmental disorder that often presents with behavioral, social, emotional, and communication challenges. ASD exists on a spectrum, and because symptoms vary so widely and can often be difficult to detect there is no official ‘medical test’ to conclusively prove autism. For this reason, it can be quite difficult to diagnose, and even though ASD can present as early as 18 months many children with ASD are not accurately diagnosed until they reach adolescence or adulthood.  Even more harrowing, children from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds or from racial or ethnic minority groups are at an even greater risk to be diagnosed later in life. 

Children on the ASD spectrum are already at greater risk for significant delays in physical, cognitive, and social development. An earlier diagnosis from a licensed healthcare professional can be the difference between years of suffering without appropriate therapies and medications. The earlier a correct diagnosis is issued, the more quickly intervention strategies and suitable therapies can begin, allowing the child in question untold opportunities to thrive and grow. The development of new technologies like Canvas Dx provides a huge step forward in establishing the ASD community and those who support them with the resources they need to succeed.

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