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Tech companies provide resources for kids with Autism

One in 68 children has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. Approximately one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls living in the ADDM Network communities were identified as having ASD.

The advocacy group Autism Speaks launched “MSSNG,” an awareness campaign to support the development of the world’s largest database of sequenced genomic information on people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their family members. Google will store sequenced data from MSSNG on the Google Cloud Platform, providing an open resource for scientists worldwide to access and share Autism research as well as the engineering innovation needed to address the storage and analysis challenges.

MSSNG, pronounced “missing,” the name has vowels deliberately omitted to represent the missing pieces of the Autism puzzle. The campaign will be supported online via a social movement to raise awareness and donations. It encourages supporters to remove vowels from their Twitter display name by going to their profile, clicking “Edit” then “Name” and removing vowels.

Autism Speaks invites its supporters to post the following:

We’re missing a lot of information on Autism.
Support @AutismSpeaks project #MSSNG by removing letters from your name: http://mss.ng.

look-at-me-app Another company helping understand the Autism puzzle is Samsung. The new Samsung Look At Me Android app can help kids learn how to better maintain eye contact, something that many people with Autism have difficulty doing. Seven scientifically-produced missions were created to help children with Autism make eye contact, read facial expressions and express their emotions.

The program was developed by Samsung, in collaboration with professors, doctors and UX designers. 60% of 20 children trained on the program over eight weeks showed improvement in making eye contact.

Some missions in this program require parental assistance and participation. Parents should encourage their child’s participation and monitor his/her progress. To motivate their child to perform better, parents should give their child a small reward if he/she completes all of the day’s missions. Download the Look at Me parents user guide.

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