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mHealth Apps Delivering Early Intervention to Support Parents of Children With ASD: Scoping Review

Project type

Scoping Review


20 February 2023


Indian Pediatrics, Springer

Full Review Link

Early intervention, and parent-mediated intervention are effective in achieving early childhood development goals for children with autism spectrum disorder. There is a surge in mHealth technologies delivering such interventions. This review aims to explore the concept, context and methodology of implementation of such mHealth apps.

Evidence Acquisition
A search was conducted using NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) healthcare database, including keyword ‘early intervention,’ ‘mHealth,’ ‘parent support,’ ‘apps,’ and ‘autism.’ The quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods, case reports, grey literature, systematic reviews, clinical trials, and feasibility studies of children between 2 to 6 years with ASD were included from inception of database to December, 2021. Web/Internet-based or computer-dependent programs were excluded. The initial search yielded 3786 studies; 17 were finally included based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Studies on a total of mhealth apps were reviewed. Nine apps, apart from TOBY (Therapy outcome by you), lacked a holistic approach and instead targeted a specific difficulty in autism. The provision of support to parents using apps was equally beneficial as in-person support, reduced costs, and improved outcomes in children.

The review revealed limited evidence-based mHealth apps available currently in a community setting. This also underscores an opportunity for clinicians to re-direct parents towards evidence-based information and interventions.

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