In Poland, we are still struggling with providing early diagnosis for children, who are in risk of autism. I believe that one part of the problem is the lack of knowledge about autism symptoms and possible treatments. Therefore, my digital campaign would be dedicated to educating young parents about the early signs of autism. By building the awareness I hope to motivate parents to seek for professional diagnosis and treatment for their children.
The main goal of my campaign would be to increase the number of children in Poland, who receive the diagnosis around second year of their life. The second goal would focus on emphasising the importance of early evidence-based treatment.
Contemporary researches show that by using appropriate methods it is possible to assess the risk of autism in children around 12 months old. Diagnosing autism at the early stage is crucial, because the sooner the child receives help the better the outcomes of therapy are. Toddlers and small children learn faster and make bigger progress in acquiring skills necessary for further development. This allows them to start learning from the natural environment earlier. It is also worth to mention that according to World Health Organization 1 in 160 children is suffering from autism spectrum disorder. American statistics show even higher rates of autism, indicating that 1 in 68 children is in risk of developmental disorders. Moreover, the prevalence of this disorder is increasing.
In the digital campaign I would like to create a video describing early signs of autism and strategies that should be taken in case of any concerns about child’s health. This video would be shared on Facebook, because this social media is the most popular among young adults in Poland. There are at least few parenting blogs, NGO’s and preschools, which I would like to ask to share my video and support my cause. Apart from creating a video I would like to promote a smartphone application, ASDetect, designed to help parents in conducting initial assessment of child’s skills.
Since not all people are using social media in Poland, I would like to support the digital campaign by on the ground work. I want to distribute posters and leaflets about the early signs of autism in different organizations connected to child development (preschools, outpatient clinics etc.).
The second part of my digital campaign would be setting-up a Facebook page. This page would have few functions. First, it would be a place for promoting my video and the ASDetect application. Second, I would share a feedback about campaign outcomes on this page. The feedback would be mostly based on short posts showing how many people in Poland downloaded and used ASDetect application. Third, I would provide the information about the number of posters and leaflets distributed in different organizations and share pictures of posters hanging in those places. Fourth, I would also create a “they are talking about us” section. In this section, I would mention all the other media and organization that got interested in participating in my campaign.
Furthermore, the Facebook page would serve as a place for sharing stories of children with whom I worked and the progress they made during the treatment. Each month of the campaign I would also post more insightful stories about autism symptoms, evidence-based treatments and organizations, which provide this type of treatment in Poland. Hopefully the Facebook page would also become a place for parents to share their stories and experiences. The intention of all mentioned stories and posts is to motivate parents to undertake targeted actions.
The campaign would last for six months. All actions would happen throughout the whole campaign, but each month would focus on different topics, according to following schedule:
First month - sharing the video and promotion of ASDetect app,
Second and third month – information about autism symptoms – deficits in social interactions, deficits in social communication and patterns of repetitive behaviours,
Fourth month - evidence-based treatments and inspiring stories of children in therapy,
Fifth month - different organizations providing evidence-based treatment in Poland,
Sixth month - summary and gathering final feedback about the campaign.