A total of 2% of children around the world are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Most struggle with clear communication and verbalization, making it difficult for the child to communicate their needs to others. An AI-powered app created by SocialMind Autism, led in part by Technion alumna and company CTO Dana Porrat, may hold the solution to this problem. The app gives parents and caregivers practical guidance on moments of attempted verbalization they may have otherwise overlooked, mainly targeting children under five as those years are the most critical in building language skills.

SocialMind Autism gives personalized feedback within three days to parents or caregivers based on videos of their structured therapy sessions at home they record and then upload to the app to be analyzed by its trained AI technology. The parent or caregiver can then see if they had implemented certain methods correctly or not and are shown specific portions of the video demonstrating where they did or did not respond in a conductive manner. A team of therapists is also available to provide ideas for future strategies to encourage the child to verbalize.

The program utilizes Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), an evidence-based behavioral treatment for autism that aims to increase a child’s motivation for learning and initiating communication as well as improving their social skills. PRT can be difficult to access for many families due to long wait times for appointments, lack of sufficient insurance coverage, and its overall cost, so the app aims to make this targeted treatment available to a wider range of families.

The company hopes to eventually produce a curriculum that also helps parents or caregivers to assist their children with potty training, playing with peers, and managing tantrums. So far, the app has helped more than 60 parents assist their children in communicating and is available to anyone who speaks English or Hebrew. SocialMind Autism is now selling its services to train therapists at child therapy centers, hospital, and clinics.