Technology helps families dealing with autism work from home

Technology helps families dealing with autism work from home

Brendaliss Gonzalez

A Kansas City doctor has found a way to bring specialized treatments to children with Autism without making parents drive more than 5 miles from their home.

Audrey Lintner knew early on her son was different than most kids.

"Oh gosh, since he was a baby," she said.

At age five, Tommy can read roman numerals and even multiply. 

"When he was not much over a year-old and we passed a store with one of those big ice bins and this little voice from the back says,'I-C-E, spells ice," said Lintner.

Tommy was diagnosed with Autism last year. 

"It's very difficult to convince him to stop for whatever reason, I'm in this pattern I need to finish this pattern," said Lintner.

One in 50 kids around the U.S. are diagnosed Autistic and the number is rising.

"There's also research that shows that those individuals that are higher functioning, that as they age out of school and they age into young adulthood, that they're unemployed and they're underemployed," said Dr. Linda Heitzman-Powell, who is specialized in Autism research.   

Heitzman-Powell has helped hundreds of families dealing with autism.

She's educated parents, like Audrey, without forcing them to travel thousands of miles to get to her. 

"I think in our area there are actually more cows than people," said Lintner, "It's really hard to get those services." 

Instead, she helps treat kids through a webcam. 

"No matter where they go, they can move, no matter what they do, no matter what school they go to, they're the constant in that child's life," said Heitzman-Powell.

She's taught Audrey new techniques to help give Tommy structure and grow in basic social skills.

"You change the learning outcome, you change the trajectory," said Powell.

Sixteen weeks of training has given her a whole new perspective on helping her son and even herself.

"I think it helped me possibly more than it's helping Tommy," she said.

Heitzman-Powell says they plan to provide the program to Spanish speaking families in the near future.