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IAN Discusses Technology Use at Autism Research Conference

Date Published: 
May 12, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Researchers from the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) are discussing their work at poster sessions at the International Meeting for Autism Research this week. Hundreds of scientists and doctors from around the world have gathered to share their research into the causes, treatment, and diagnosis of autism. IAN is sharing what it has learned from families and people with autism. Here is what IAN is presenting today:

Parent Concerns and Screen-Based Media: Teens with ASD and Typically Developing Peers

Photo of mobile phone by Samson Vowles of UnsplashCheryl Cohen, director of IAN's Online and Community Programs, explored the online experiences of teenagers who have autism, compared to those who don't. Parents of teens with autism were concerned about the amount of time they spend with screen-based media, as well as the content of that media, according to a survey of parents of 347 children. More than half of the parents of teens with autism and "below-normal intellectual ability" were concerned about inappropriate purchasing or joining activities online. Parents were concerned about their children's safety and behavior, and wanted better ways to monitor and control their children's online behavior.1

Willingness of Mothers of Individuals with ASD to Engage in Mobile HeaLth Research

IAN studied the willingness of 622 mothers of children and adults with autism to participate in research using mobile apps or devices, such as fitness monitors, that collect health information. They found that mothers were willing to share their mobile health data with medical, public health, and drug company researchers, if they could remain anonymous and could have some control over their information. Mothers of younger children were more willing to use the newer technologies, according to IAN's Jaimie Toroney.2


  1. Cohen CA, Marvin AR. Parent concerns and screen-based media: Teens with ASD and typically developing peers. Poster at the International Meeting for Autism Research, May 12, 2017.
  2. Toroney JS, Law JK, Marvin AR, Dhingra S, Simoes E, Lipkin PH. Willingness of mothers of individuals with ASD to engage in mobile health research. Poster at the International Meeting for Autism Research, May 12, 2017.