YouTube may become an outlet used by doctors when diagnosing children with autism.
Researchers at Stanford University trained undergraduates on behaviors common among children diagnosed with autism. Then, the students watched 100 YouTube videos showing children ages one-to-15 years at play. About half the videos were tagged by creators with words like autism or Asperger's and the other half were videos of typically-developing children.
The group of students rated the children's behavior using a scale based on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, ADOS. The scientists found the reviewers correctly diagnosed autism 97 percent of the time.
Experts said videos that capture children in their home environment may show their true behavior - as compared to their actions in the doctor's office. However, some critics said that diagnosing autism is a complex process that cannot be simplified with a YouTube video evaluations.