NEW YORK, NY (October 15, 2007) – Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising money to fund autism research, together with First Signs, the leader in early identification and intervention of children with developmental delays and disorders, and Florida State University, today announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind web-based video glossary to help parents and professionals learn more about the early warning signs of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The glossary, available to the public free of charge at www.autismspeaks.org, www.firstsigns.org, and firstwords.fsu.edu, contains more than a hundred video clips that illustrate both typical and atypical development. Visit the glossary here.
The goal of the project is to help parents of children suspected of or recently diagnosed with autism better understand some of the words and terms they might hear used in association with ASD. Video clips are used to show examples of such terms as social reciprocity, joint attention, sensory defensiveness, hand flapping, and echolalia. In many cases, side-by-side video clips show behaviors that are typical in contrast with those that are red flags for ASD. Video clips that give parents short windows into the different types of therapies will be added to the site next year. The glossary will also be a useful resource to healthcare providers and other professionals who may not have experience in diagnosing young children with ASD. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will feature the ASD video glossary in its soon-to-be released Autism Toolkit. The glossary offers two entry points – the first is organized around the diagnostic features of ASD and the second is an alphabetical list of terms associated with ASD. Both entry points lead to video clips that illustrate the terms.
“If pictures are worth a thousand words, then these videos are worth a million,” said Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. “Our hope is that this new tool will help parents better understand behaviors they see in their children and learn more about terms that have been used by doctors or educators so that parents can be the best possible advocates for their children.”
“The goal of this initiative is to facilitate earlier diagnosis and intervention for children with autism,” said Nancy D. Wiseman, founder and president of First Signs. “Right now, early intervention is the best weapon we have against autism. We want parents to be able to recognize those early warning signs and communicate their concerns more effectively with their pediatrician.”
Respected autism researcher, professor, and Director of the Florida State University FIRST WORDS Project, Amy M. Wetherby, PhD, oversaw the selection of appropriate and descriptive video clips. “We have carefully chosen clips that can help parents see for themselves what typical behavior looks like, as well as behavior that might raise a red flag,” said Wetherby. “These clips also help demystify terms that can sound complex but represent important behavioral clues. These clues or early red flags of autism may indicate that there should be concern about a child's development.”
WhiteBlox is Autism Speaks' technology partner on the autism video glossary project, providing a custom tailored interactive media software system to power the glossary and enable its most robust features, including the side-by-side video players.
“WhiteBlox is honored to be involved in this important initiative, which we believe will prove to be an indispensible tool for thousands of families in the United States and beyond,” said WhiteBlox Chairman and CEO, Greg Demetriades.
The autism video glossary was architected and designed by Managing Director Ross Cooper, Executive Producer Debbie Kiederer, Executive Creative Director Angela Vecchio and Associate Creative Director Dawn White of the Gold n Fish Marketing Group of Armonk, NY.
View coverage of the video glossary from the CBS Early Show.
Autism is an umbrella term for a wide spectrum of disorders referred to as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). They are a group of neurobiological disorders that affect a child's ability to interact, communicate, relate, play, imagine, and learn, and are often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism Spectrum Disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks has merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.
About First Signs®
First Signs, Inc. is a national non-profit organization dedicated to educating parents and professionals about the early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders. It was founded in 1999 by Nancy D. Wiseman, former marketing executive, parent of a child with autism, and author of Could It Be Autism? A Parent's Guide to the First Signs and Next Steps. First Signs provides professionals with tools and training and parents with education and support to help young children stay on a healthy developmental path. To learn more about First Signs, please visit www.firstsigns.org.
About Florida State University's FIRST WORDS® Project
The FIRST WORDS Project is a prospective, longitudinal research investigation at Florida State University designed to identify early red flags of autism spectrum disorders from videotapes of children screened under 24 months of age who are later diagnosed with autism. As Principal Investigator, Dr. Wetherby has received funding from the US Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research findings will have important implications for improving early screening and evaluation tools. To learn more about the FIRST WORDS Project, please visit http://firstwords.fsu.edu.
WhiteBlox, a leading broadband video solutions company, delivers robust technology and application services in a comprehensive production and delivery suite that allows companies to become their own Internet television broadcasters. WhiteBlox gives customers the flexibility, control and tools to leverage video assets and content into dynamic, engaging and profitable networks through use of its integrated broadband solutions. WhiteBlox is a company of Continental Vista Broadcasting Group, Inc., based in The Woodlands, TX, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Latin America and Europe. For more information, please call 281.210.5000 or visit www.whiteblox.com.