New research suggests that helping pediatricians address autism with videoconferencing may stem the tide of problems with identifying and supporting children who are affected by the developmental disorder.

Soft SkillsA series of two hour videoconferencing sessions may be sufficient to enable pediatricians who have little or no experience working with kids on the autism spectrum to treat them and identify them.

Researchers at the University of Missouri evaluated pediatricians through a program called ECHO Autism to determine if they could be trained to screen children for autism and treat them using a series of remote training sessions over six months. Doctors participated in 12 biweekly videoconferencing sessions led by experts at an academic center. They learned how to spot the disorder and ascertain the impact medically and psychologically. The experts were a clinical psychologist, a pediatrician who specialized in autism, a child psychiatrist, a social worker, a dietician, and a parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder.

After the training the results showed that the doctors were twice as likely to screen patients for autism.

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