People reading this blog and those I work with would be forgiven for thinking that I haven’t really been doing anything on the Click-East trial lately. However it is ticking over smoothly in the background, though there has been a recent dip in recruitment. So we’ll be making a big push to get as many families in between now and Christmas as we possibly can. I’m aiming for a minimum of three families per week, and crossing my fingers that everyone will meet criteria as we’ve recently has a few children come in who I wasn’t able to enrol in the trial. This is because we need all children enrolled in the trial to be, to some degree, similar to each other. This means getting quite high scores on one of our measures, the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule), which indicates a pattern of behaviours associated with a ‘classic’ autism diagnosis – as opposed to Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
It is always a pity to have to tell parents, who have made a lot of effort to come in for a two hour visit with their son or daughter, that they can’t take part in our research. However if I did enrol these families, it would not only make it hard to draw to conclusions from the finished trial, but also almost certainly be a waste of their time. Children who are doing pretty well, who have some good language skills and can manage basic social interactions, are very unlikely to benefit from the app we’ve designed. It simply isn’t going to be relevant to their set of needs and challenges. Any families who come in and can’t be enrolled in the trial will still receive a report on their assessments, which we hope is useful, and we hope in the future to be able to expand our work to include apps for a wider range of abilities and ages.
If you’d like a detailed update on the Click-East project, have a look at this newsletter recently circulated to enrolled families and other partners in our research. Contact me for a pdf or printed copy.