In this week’s edition we summarize research about the quality of online parent resources for children who are late talkers, factors influencing a telehealth intervention for children with hearing loss, and developmental changes in attention to social information in individuals with ASD.
Analysis of the quality of online resources for parents of children who are late to talk
Many parents turn to the internet to find information related to their child’s development, but they may encounter a wide variety of information. In this study, the authors analyzed the information on top websites related to “late talkers,” measuring these websites’ usability, readability, and reliability using a standardized tool. They found that most websites scored low on readability, written with language too complex to be easily understood by the average reader, and scored moderately on usability, meaning the websites were moderately easy to navigate. They also found that the websites scored low on reliability of information, with less than half of websites citing sources, and most websites providing outdated information. This suggests that educating parents about the quality of information found online may be warranted, and that those who create these websites should make more efforts to provide understandable, updated information.
Exploring Factors Influencing the Use of an eHealth Intervention for Families of Children with Hearing Loss: An Application of the COM-B Model
Healthcare professionals have taken advantage of advances in technology to optimize therapy for years, but focused research about specific communities’ preferences for this technology is only starting to emerge. In this study, families of children with hearing loss and their providers were interviewed about their experiences surrounding “eHealth,” defined as “the use of information and communication technologies for health.” Many parents reported that they frequently use the technology used for eHealth (e.g., email, apps, and social media), but they would prefer more personalized information, such as the ability to ask experts specific questions about their child or to connect with similar families through technology. Many parents and providers also reported that they see the benefit of eHealth services, but they had a personal preference for and confidence in face-to-face services. This suggests that integrating more personalized, social opportunities may make eHealth technologies more relevant for families of children with hearing loss, thus making them more comfortable and confident in eHealth.
Developmental changes in attention to social information from childhood to adolescence in autism spectrum disorders: a comparative study
Previous research suggests that children with autism attend to social information less frequently than their typically-developing peers, but less known about the extent of these differences and how they may change over time. In this study, individuals with and without autism between the ages of 2 and 18 completed an eye-tracking task measuring the time they spent looking at social information. Types of social information included looking at still faces, looking at faces while talking, and following finger-points. They found that the autism group had a different pattern of looking at social information than the typically-developing group over time, and that this unique pattern was more pronounced in girls. This suggests that differences in social attention may be important to investigate in individuals of all ages, instead of only in early childhood as is the focus of much current research. Additionally, more research is necessary to understand why these differences are more pronounced in girls, and to understand the implication of these differences on how individuals with autism learn and engage in social interactions.