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September 2012
Dr. Minna Levine of SymTrend Presents Poster about SymTrend Effectiveness for Diagnosis and Management.

Dr. Minna Levine and her colleagues Dr. Ronald Calvanio and Dr. Ferdinando Buonanno presented a poster at the Medicine 2.0 conference held in Boston. The poster presents a summary of cases for which SymTrend was used in two areas: 1) Symptom Management by Correlate Identification and 2) Diagnosis Clarification and Medical Management. They also discuss cases in which there was a partial or complete clinical failure. In all of these cases, SymTrend diaries were used to track sensory/motor spells, headaches, cognitive lapses, fatigue and sleep disturbances, emotional lability, and odd behavior.

View a report about their work:
How Tracking Neuropsychiatric Symptom Expression with a Personalized E-Diary Can Improve Diagnosis and Management.



January 2012
Department of Orthopedics at University of Massachusetts Medical School Completes Usability Test of Self-Care Tool for Advanced Arthritis.

Patricia Franklin, MD and colleagues completed a usability test of a SymTrend based personal health record app with individuals who had total knee replacement (TKR) surgery. Their customized SymTrend app included pictures and descriptions of key exercises and activities. Patients input symptoms and exercise routines three times each day. The home exercise program included a core of 10 exercises important for knee arthritis. Physical therapists evaluated the tool from the health providers' perspective.

View a report about their work:
Usability testing of handheld personal health record to support self-care for advanced arthritis patients.



December 2011
Dr. Minna Levine Speaks at Monthly Atlanta Autism Consortium Meeting.

Dr. Levine, president of SymTrend, gave a talk at the December 14th meeting of the Atlanta Autism Consortium on products for enhancing self-management skills. She described multiple handheld apps available for self-management, including SymTrend. She also described the findings from SymTrend research, outlined in posters below, on the benefits of using handheld apps for self-management.



May 2011
SymTrend, Inc. Launches SymTrend ADL Application and Website for Tracking and Improving Performance of Activities of Daily Living.

SymTrend, Inc. has launched a new specialized version of its acclaimed electronic diary system for families and professionals to record about performance of activities of daily living (dressing, eating, toileting, grooming/bathing, sleeping), health status (including bowel issues and sensory sensitivities), and challenging behaviors (tantrums, self-injury, aggression, and repetitive behaviors) of children. The new SymTrend ADL website provides extensive analysis/reporting tools and strategies for coping with difficulties in all of these areas. The application and website can be used to discover what interferes with performance of these skills as well as to find strategies for improving them.

The data collection application of SymTrend ADL is now available on the iTunes App Store for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. Individuals interested in using the application online or with other touch/browser-based devices (e.g., Android and Palm smartphones) can use the online SymTrend ADL application (accessible via a Go-Mobile link at the bottom of the https://www.symtrend.com/tw/adl-public/ web page).



May 2011
SymTrend, Inc. Launches SymTrials iPad App

SymTrend has added SymTrials to its portfolio of products, making it the most comprehensive system for behavioral recording, analyzing, and reporting. SymTrend already includes tools for interval recording, task analysis, functional behavior assessments, and observations by OTs, PTs, SLPs, teachers, BCBAs, and families.

With SymTrend and SymTrials you can manage all data collection in one place. Transfer your paper forms for discrete trial training, interval recording, task analysis, and ABC recording to one system. Get access to the broadest array of charting and reporting tools. Create a library of templates for use with your whole client base. This initial version requires a SymTrend site license to use with your clients. Contact SymTrend support (support@symtrend.com) to find out more about site licenses.

SymTrials was positively received by all who saw it at the Applied Behavior Analysis International meeting. Features that excited the crowd were:

  • Clarity of the data collection form and ease-of-use.
  • Flexibility for different types of discrete trial training paradigms.
  • Access to scores and training details for the last five sessions so you know when you need to advance and which materials you should use.
  • Capability to set up all programs for the day in minutes.
  • Charting with addition of phase lines at prompt and step changes.

SymTrials is only available for the iPad.

Download it for free from the iTunes App store to try out the demo.
Log into the demo account on the initial screen. Once you start the app, you can select from a library of programs and record some trials for the demo student.

Learn more about it.  »



December 2010
SymTrend, Inc. Launches No More Meltdowns Application and Website in Collaboration with Dr. Jed Baker.

SymTrend, Inc. has launched a new specialized version of its acclaimed electronic diary system for families and professionals to record about the antecedents and consequences of challenging behaviors (tantrums, self-injury, aggression, and repetitive behaviors) of children. The new SymTrend – No More Meltdowns website provides meltdown prevention plans from Dr. Baker’s book in combination with SymTrend’s extensive analysis/reporting tools. The application and website can be used to discover what triggers the challenging behaviors as well as what to do to prepare your child in anticipation of exposure to the triggers.

The data collection application of No More Meltdowns is now available on the iTunes App Store for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. Individuals interested in using the application online or with other touch/browser-based devices (e.g., Android and Palm smartphones) can use the online SymTrend No More Meltdowns application (accessible via a Go-Mobile link on the navigation bar of the https://www.symtrend.com/tw/nmm-public/ web page).



July 2010
Workshop Presentation at Autism Society of America Conference.

No More Clipboards and Forms! Mobile Solutions for Collecting, Charting & Communicating.

Minna Levine, President of SymTrend and Dorothy Lucci of Massachusetts General Hospital's YouthCare program (www.mghyouthcare.org) presented a workshop at the Autism Society’s 41st National Conference in Dallas in July. Abstract: Mobile computers provide many benefits to special educators, clinicians and families. Their benefit is particularly evident in three domains: a) Behavioral Observation Efficiency: recording observations and charting data for IEPs, and evaluating the impact of triggers as part of Functional Behavior Assessment; b) Intervention Implementation: guidance of professional and parent training, management and reinforcement strategies; and c) Outcomes Evaluation: constructing an evidence base on the impact of behavioral, sensory, communication, diet and medical interventions (using single-case study designs).





May 2010
Poster Presentations at 9th Annual International Meeting for Autism Researchers.

Asperger Male Teens' Use of Relaxation Strategies and Selection Preferences: Which Strategies for Which Stressors?

D. Scott McLeod, Dorothy Lucci, and Kelley Challen-Wittmer of Massachusetts General Hospital's YouthCare program (www.mghyouthcare.org) presented a poster at the IMFAR meeting about their use of the SymTrend software on the Apple iPod Touch as part of their 2009 summer program for teens with PDD-NOS, NLD, and Asperger's Syndrome. They developed a stress management curriculum for their program because it is well documented that stress management is an important life skill for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NLD). Often these individuals have heightened levels of stress, have difficulty reporting their stressors and do not use relaxation strategies (RS) successful efforts to address these concerns would likely lead to increased self-management of stress and ultimately healthier lifestyles and better emotional functioning. They found that the Apple iPOd Touch use enhanced the teens self-awareness of physiological signs of stress and stressors. The technology also facilitated participation and interest of the teens in discussing stress and its components.

View the poster. Asperger Male Teens' Use of Relaxation Strategies and Selection Preferences: Which Strategies for Which Stressors?

Male Teens with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) Learn About Stress and its Physiological Signs

Dorothy Lucci, D. Scott McLeod, and Kelley Challen-Wittmer of Massachusetts General Hospital’s YouthCare program (www.mghyouthcare.org) presented a second poster at the IMFAR meeting detailing how the teens learned the relationship between the stress they experienced and their thoughts and interactions with peers and adults. they found that the use of SymTrend and direct teaching of stress and its physiological signs improved teens’ understanding and self-awareness of stressors and signs of stress. The teens were able to make the links between their internal thinking and their physiological signs of stress. When stress was experienced during the interaction with another person, the teens were less likely to be able to identify themselves as stressed.

View the poster. Male Teens with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) Learn About Stress and its Physiological Signs

Self-Monitoring with Handheld Computers by Teens with High Functioning Autism/Asperger's Syndrome in Mainstream Settings

Minna Levine, Ph.D.; Kathy Hearsey, N.Ed.; Gary B. Mesibov, Ph.D.; and Ron Calvanio, Ph.D. presented a poster on additional findings from their study reported below. They found that the use of simultaneous recording by teens with HFA/AS and observers, with chart feedback, produced a benefit for the intervention group almost twice that of the wait list group in areas related to taking initiative and self-regulation (attention to task, self-control, and self-expression). This was especially true of those with a more positive affect. There was not a significant difference in change in social appropriateness measures (cooperation, social interaction) between the two groups. Despite a much more limited protocol implementation in mainstream settings, the computer-based feedback paradigm shows promise for improving classroom initiative/self-regulation and social appropriateness.

View the poster. Self-Monitoring with Handheld Computers by Teens with High Functioning Autism/Asperger's Syndrome in Mainstream Settings

Incorporating Technology Into a Pilot Cognitive Behavior Therapy Group Treatment for Adolescents with High Functioning Autism (HFA) Spectrum

A. Blakeley-Smith, J. Reaven, E. Leuthe, K. Culhane-Shelburne, E.J. Moody, and S. Hepburn of JFK Partners at University of Colorado School of Medicine presented a poster about their pilot study using SymTrend technology with 19 adolescents with HFA and anxiety as part of their group cognitive behavior therapy treatment. Adolescents were encouraged to do anxiety/relaxation check-ins and provide anxiety ratings pre and post exposures to stressful situations. They also reported which of the anxiety coping skills they were taught they used when they experienced anxiety. While the degree of use of the handheld devices were not significantly related to outcome, the findings should be interpreted with caution because there was no control group and a small sample size. Follow-up research is ongoing.



November, 2009
SymTrend Online Data Collection Tool Optimized for Browser-Based Phones

The SymTrend online data collection tool has been upgraded so that users can user touch-browser-based phones to record in-the-moment using SymTrend's electronic diaries. By clicking a Go-Mobile link at the bottom of its home page, users with Android and Palm-based smart phones can easily record symptoms and behaviors with and get guidance from their SymTrend tools.



October, 2009
Launch of SymTrend iPhone/iPod Touch App

The SymTrend data collection tool is now available for iPhones and the iPod Touch through the iTunes app store.



September, 2009
Grant with University of Washington Awarded.

Comprehensive Collection, Charting and Communication System Development Funded by NIMH

SymTrend has been awarded a two-year small business technology transfer grant (STTR) from the National Institute of Mental Health in partnership with the University of Washington in Seattle. This project will enable SymTrend to enhance its low-cost, technology-afforded power and efficiency to the special education (SPED) of a lower functioning child with autism (LFCA). An effective IEP requires intensive school and home-based behavioral monitoring: iterations of behavioral data recording, progress charting, and team communication. SymTrend will extend the functionality of its current Internet and mobile system for behavioral monitoring to include the use of digital pen technology for recording on specially printed forms. The project will then test the two types of electronic monitoring (iPod Touch and digital pens) against current pencil and paper monitoring. It is hypothesized that an electronic system with four components i.e., forms creation, data collection, progress charting, and team communication will reduce the time burden of behavioral monitoring and enable schools to meet the IEP needs of its students within the constraints of very restrictive educational budgets. Funding starts 9/30/2009. Research will be conducted in Newton and Cambridge, MA.


May 2009
Poster Presentations at 8th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research

Emotion Self-Regulation and Selective Attention are Critical for Classroom Pro-Social Behavior

Minna Levine, OTR/L PhD (SymTrend), Ronald Calvanio, PhD (Harvard Medical School), and Gary Mesibov, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presented data from their research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH 2-R42-MH075162-02). They replicated an earlier finding with a much larger group of AS/HFA students, this time in inclusion classrooms in a variety of locations in MA and NC. They found that emotion and social behavior in classroom settings are highly correlated. This poster presentation illustrates an analysis of how the impact of emotion upon social behavior is mediated. They found that two distinct models accounted for this mediation. The first model involved cooperation with the teacher, the second involved social interaction with peers. In the first model, the impact of emotion was mediated in an additive model with executive functioning. In the second model, the mediation was multiplicative (i.e., interactive) and involved social cognition.

View the poster. Emotion Self-Regulation and Selective Attention are Critical for Classroom Pro-Social Behavior

From the Laboratory to the Blackboard Jungle: Conducting Technology-based Research in the Inclusion Setting

Minna Levine, OTR/L PhD (SymTrend), Kathy Hearsey, MEd (UNC), Nicolle Woods, BA (SymTrend), Laura Zekanovic, BA (SymTrend), Jenna Barnwell, BA (UNC) and Laurie Kozar, BA (UNC), presented “lessons learned” from their research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH 2-R42-MH075162-02). We were the first to undertake in vivo, school-based, computer-mediated treatment of social behavior of teens with Asperger's Syndrome (AS). This report is a “heads-up review” for fellow investigators. It lists likely problems encountered during school-based technology research and suggests solutions. Our focus here is primarily on 1) the logistics of adhering to research protocols within an inclusion school setting and 2) dealing with computer problems and infrastructure issues.

View the poster. From the Laboratory to the Blackboard Jungle

PDA Technology to Improve Self-Awareness in Teens with ASD

D. Scott McLeod and Dorothy Lucci of Massachusetts General Hospital's YouthCare program (www.mghyouthcare.org) presented a poster at the IMFAR meeting about their use of the SymTrend software on PDAs as part of their 2007 summer program for teens with PDD-NOS, NLD, and Asperger's Syndrome. They concluded that: “PDA technology and visual graphs facilitate participation and interest in teens with ASD in discussing social awareness. Teens successfully integrated knowledge gained throughout the summer. Our data suggests that teens can use the visual graphs to improve self-awareness and to describe their internal states and broaden others' perspectives of individuals with ASD. It was our observation that their social thinking and social behavior improved overall. PDAs enabled discussion about the ASD perspective in comparison to others' perspectives of them.”

View the poster. PDA Technology to Improve Self-Awareness in Teens with ASD

Friday, October 3, 2008
Workshop presentation at Asperger's Association of New England Asperger Syndrome Connections Conference

Charm School: Enhancing Emotion Self-Regulation to Support Social Skills

Presented by: Minna Levine, OTR/L, PhD, SymTrend, Inc.

Social composure can be almost as important as social skill for successful social functioning at school. Key components of social composure are: feeling Calm, Happy, Alert, Respectful, and Motivated (CHARM). This presentation describes a new school-centered program using PDAs for cultivating CHARM to support social skills.

View the presentation. Enhancing Emotion Self-Regulation to Support Social Skills

Friday, September 26, 2008
Poster Presentation at 6th World Stroke Congress

Neuropsychiatric Sequelae and Life Events: Analysis and Management with e-Diaries

R. Calvanio, PhD, F. S. Buonanno, MD, D. N. Levine, MD, M. S. Levine, OTR/L, PhD

Life events influence the expression of neuropsychiatric sequelae of stroke traumatic brain injury, and CNS infections complicating symptom management. The findings elaborate the nature of symptom-event association in a way that can improve patient care in cases where conventional investigation has not proved satisfactory. They also document the utility of e-diary data collection in the management of neuropsychiatric conditions.

View the presentation. Neuropsychiatric Sequelae and Life Events: Analysis and Management with e-Diaries


June, 2008
SymTrend and UNC/Chapel Hill funded by National Institute of Mental Health

SymTrend and UNC/Chapel Hill funded for Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer Research grant by National Institute of Mental Health

SymTrend and University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill have been awarded a Phase II small business technology transfer grant by the National Institute of Mental Health. The nearly $800,000 grant will extend their Phase I product development and research on a Portable Visual Guidance System (PVGS, See October, 2006 below). The system will be tested in public high schools and middle schools in Newton and Brockton, MA, Asheville and Durham, NC, and at the Veritas Christian Academy in a suburb of Asheville, NC. The principal investigator on the grant is Dr. Gary Mesibov, Director of Division TEACCH at UNC/Chapel Hill (www.teacch.com). Dr. Ronald Calvanio and SymTrend's Dr. Minna Levine are co-investigators.

Successful completion of Phase II will: (1) provide a very effective and comprehensive system for teaching social pragmatics, emotion regulation, and self-management skills to persons with Asperger's Syndrome/High Functioning Autism (AS/HFA) in an inclusion context, (2) provide a means of evaluating IEP effectiveness, thereby enabling a better use of special education funds and a reduction of litigation over IEP plan appropriateness and utility, (3) provide substantial support for our theoretical rationale for curriculum building in Special Education - a rationale that can guide the formulation of IEPs, and (4) provide a theoretical rationale, an intervention framework, and intervention support technology that can be extended to cognitive behavioral treatment of other neuropsychiatric disorders and can be adapted for other forms of healthcare guidance.

The SymTrend PVGS tested in this grant will be used by the adolescent and a coach or school aide in tandem for data recording; the student and coach will then use SymTrend's acclaimed graphics for feedback on performance and for generating strategies for improvement. The PVGS can address and overcome a major obstacle to effective interventions in special education and community based medicine. That obstacle is the lack of information tools for: 1) symptom recording, 2) progress monitoring, 3) intervention evaluation, 4) symptom trigger detection, 5) behavioral guidance, and 6) care coordination. To date SymTrend support tools have been used in the education and treatment of individuals with a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders including: autism, Asperger's Syndrome, traumatic brain injury, stroke, headaches, depression with self-injurious behavior, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.


Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Presentation at 2nd Annual Summit on Behavioral Telehealth: Technology for Behavior Change & Disease Management

Decision Support Tools for Patients and Physicians

Ronald Calvanio, Ph.D. Neurology Department, Massachusetts General Hospital & Instructor, Harvard Medical School presented a session about his work with SymTrend tools.

Pediatric and adolescent mental health is an obvious telemedicine application in terms of both challenges and opportunities. Treatment of young persons presents greater challenges of diagnosis, treatment formulation, adverse drug reaction, reactivity to life events, compliance, and relapse. In addition, care coordination and decision-making is especially complex because more people are involved besides the patient in making observations, comments, and determinations related to care - parents (sometimes divorced), teachers, tutors, school nurses, and prescribing and non-prescribing clinicians. Behavioral Telemedicine Systems involving portable and stationary computers as well as Internet media enable more effective management of these challenges. In addition, the young patients who are served prefer electronic media as an everyday mode of communication for its cachet and as a sign of independence - not to mention its convenience. Unfortunately, there have been too few initiatives that have taken advantage of these technological opportunities for care delivery. We present the background to, and projected application of, a major two year NIMH Phase II grant to bring behavioral telemedicine to bear for Asperger students in mainstream middle and high school settings.

Saturday, May 17, 2008
Poster Presentation at 7th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research

High Functioning Autism: The Relationships Among Social Skills Execution, Symptom Expression, and Feelings States

Minna Levine, OTR/L PhD (SymTrend), Ronald Calvanio, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital), and Claire O'Callaghan (South End Community Health Center), and Herm Fishbein (Children's services Council of Broward County) presented a poster at the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Researchers.

Twenty students in three classes in a self-contained classroom of students with AS/HFA at the League School of Greater Boston participated in a study using SymTrend technology to clarify the relationship among social skills execution, AS/HFA symptom expression, and feelings expression and to inform interventions to improve self-understanding and social functioning. Findings implied that interventions to change social behavior must consider the role of feelings, both as a reaction to social behavior and as an impact on social behavior. Feelings can impact later social behavior. Interventions early in the day that address self-monitoring and self-regulation will have a positive impact on later classroom behaviors.

View the poster presentation. The Relationships Among Social Skills Execution, Symptom Expression, and Feelings State

Saturday, May 17, 2008
Poster Presentation by Massachusetts General Hospital/YouthCare at 7th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research

Pilot Use of PDA Technology to Teach Teens with ASD & NLD about Flexibility, Feelings and Sensory States at a Therapeutic Summer Day Camp.

Dorothy Lucci, CAGS and D. Scott McLeod, Ph.D. of Massachusetts General Hospital/YouthCare presented a poster at the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Researchers.

In a pilot study of SymTrend technology with teens with ASD and NLD, MGH/YouthCare found that teens’ use of PDAs enhanced their self-awareness of feeling states, sensory systems and cognitive flexibility as it relates to others. Their data “suggests that teens can use the visual graphs to describe their internal states and broaden the Neurotypical person’s perspective of individuals with ASD. PDAs facilitated participation and interest of teens with ASD in discussing social awareness.”

View the poster presentation. Pilot Use of PDA Technology to Teach Teens with ASD and NLD about Flexibility, Feelings and Sensory States

Friday, May 9th, 2008
Workshop Presented at 30th Annual Conference of maaps (Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools)

No More Clipboards, Forms & Note Cards! PDA Solutions for Observing, Charting & Guiding

Minna Levine, OTR/L, PhD (SymTrend) and Dorothy Lucci, M.ED., C.A.G.S (MGH YouthCare) presented a workshop about SymTrend's PDA applications.

Portable Digital Assistants (PDAs or handheld computers) provide many benefits to special educators, clinicians, and students with special needs. Their benefit is particularly evident in three domains: behavioral observation efficiency, intervention evaluation, and student self-monitoring & guiding. Participants had an opportunity to discuss the benefits of SymTrend and data collection.

Monday, February 4, 2008
Presentation at Mansfield, MA Special Education Parent Advisory Meeting

SymTrend: Electronic Diaries and Graphic Tools for Special Education Students

Minna Levine, PhD, president of SymTrend, spoke at the monthly meeting of the Mansfield Special Education Parents Advisory Committee about how SPED IEPs can be implemented more effectively, documented more efficiently, and coordinated more easily with technology. Two kinds of applications were described. Both involve handheld computers or desktops connected to an Internet website. The first is portable electronic coaching (PEC) technology. PECs provide individually tailored guidance to improve student learning and independence. They also reduce teacher aid time, and facilitate classroom teacher and parent participation. The second is electronic diary systems (EDS) technology. EDS technology is used for behavioral monitoring, progress graphing, IEP documentation and supported employment. It also eases communication among teachers, parents, and medical providers. The presentation included case studies of PEC and EDS use to improve student attention, social pragmatics, feelings and behavior awareness, task learning and medication use.

Sunday, January 13th, 2008
Presentation at Parent Meeting of Asperger Association of New England

Using SymTrend Web & PDA Software for Self-Regulation & Executive Functioning

Minna Levine, PhD, President of SymTrend, ran a workshop for parents at the Asperger Association of New England. She discussed SymTrend and other visual and PDA calendar/task organization tools for improving executive functioning in teens with Asperger Syndrome. The Palm software can be used in conjunction with a curriculum that teaches prioritization of tasks based on expected positive and negative consequences. She also described how SymTrend software can be used to support independence in Activities of Daily Living and Self-Regulation. SymTrend's logs and charts that demonstrate triggers of emotional dysregulation were demonstrated as were logs to facilitate use of calming and cognitive exercises to improve distress management.

Friday, June 1, 2007
Session at Summit on Behavioral Telehealth: Technology for Behavior Change & Disease Management

Portable Behavioral and Patient Self-Management Tools

Ron Calvanio, PhD, SymTrend, member of the SymTrend board of directors and Steven Raymond, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of PHT Corporation ran a session at this conference on the use of handheld logging devices by subjects in research studies and by patients under medical care for tracking symptoms, events, and behaviors longitudinally in time. The speakers believe such tools to be of surprising medical and scientific value, like symptom telescopes for viewing symptom event patterns at a distance. They discussed the design, content, and configuration of systems used in:

  • Clinical trials, deciding between treatments for patients with a disease in common such as depression or eating disorders
  • Therapy tracking and delivery, where a standard of treatment (e.g., for nausea) can be administered in a personalized fashion
  • Discovery of conditions applying to individual patients (e.g., brain injuries) and measuring effectiveness of treatments
  • Delivery of real-time therapeutic interventions for aiding function (e.g., Parkinson's disease, autism).


Saturday, May 5, 2007
Poster presentation at 6th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research

Personal Guidance System (PGS) for School and Vocational Functioning.

Minna Levine, OTR/L PhD (President of SymTrend) and Gary Mesibov (Director, Division TEACCH, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill) presented a poster at the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Researchers.

View a summary of the poster presentation.   Personal Guidance System for School and Vocational Functioning


Winter, 2007
Featured article in Endeavors: Research and Creative Activity - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Push-button Politeness

The collaborative work of Gary Mesibov, psychologist and director of Division TEACCH Autism Program at UNC's School of Medicine and Ron Calvanio, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at SymTrend was described.

View the article.   Push Button Politeness


September 29, 2006
Workshop Presentation at the 2006 annual conference of the Asperger Association of New England

Computer Assisted Improvement of Social and Executive Functioning in Asperger's Disorder

Ron Calvanio, PhD (SymTrend board member), Gary Mesibov, PhD, and Clare O'Callaghan, RN, EdD, were coauthors of a presentation at the 2006 conference of the Asperger Association of New England. Ron presented the workshop about the findings of the NIMH grant.

At the end of the session, Dr. Scott McLeod from Mass General's YouthCare program reported on their experience using SymTrend as part of their social thinking programming at a summer camp for teens with Asperger.

October 1, 2006
SymTrend/Division TEACCH complete NIMH Small Business Technology Transfer Grant

Personal Guidance in Autism Spectrum Disorders

SymTrend, in collaboration with Gary Mesibov, PhD, Director of Division TEACCH at University of North Carolina, completed their study of the use of a Portable Visual Guidance System with a class of seven teens with Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism. There were three major findings.
Finding 1: The PVGS was used during Current Events and Literature classes daily. Students were taught to self-monitor their positive and negative behaviors in class, first using paper forms, then using SymTrend software on Palm handheld computers. They self-monitored and coaches monitored them at the same time. Students were initially given feedback daily verbally, then with SymTrend charts. SymTrend PVGS increased the number of positive social interactions during classroom discussion. The increase was maintained even after daily coaching by instructors was weaned, and it generalized to classes not in the program. Finding 2: We identified additional ways to strengthen our curriculum through a) reducing negative "social pragmatics", b) reducing the negative impact of feelings status on pragmatics expression, and c) improving assignment preparation for classroom exchanges. Finding 3: We successfully established that our PVGS-centered curriculum can also enhance activity management. In particular, we successfully used it to improve 1) management of time and materials and 2) vocational task completion.

Read more about the findings. Personal Guidance System (PGS) for School and Vocational Functioning


July 13, 2006
Workshop at Autism Society of America's 37th National Conference: Lighting the Way to Hope

Computer Assisted Improvement of Social and Executive Functioning in Asperger's Disorder
Ron Calvanio, PhD, Gary Mesibov, PhD and Clare O'Callaghan, RN, CD EdD

Kim and Volkmar have said "There is a need to teach social and communication skills, explicitly, at all times, as an integral part of the [Asperger] program and as its major priority". Their presentation reported the findings of an NIMH study that addressed this challenge. It described how TEACCH principles were expanded for higher functioning Autistic students and integrated into academics, social skills training and executive functioning.


May 26, 2006
SymTrend PDAs and Software Featured on Channel 5 news in Boston.

High Tech Help

A local news show reported about the use of handheld computers and SymTrend software at the League School of Greater Boston. They interviewed students, a parent, people from the school, and SymTrend's president, Minna Levine.

Watch the clip online: Watch High Tech Help.


February 2nd, 2006
Poster Presentation at International Neuropsychological Society 34th Annual Meeting

Use of a Handheld Computer to Facilitate the Evaluation of Treatment Approaches with an Autistic Student

Cathy Grant, MA, Meliisa Fitzpatrick OTR/L, R. Calvanio, PhD, & C. A. O'Callaghan RN, CD, EdD, presented a poster that described the value of handheld computers (HHC) in a single case study designed to evaluate treatment interventions with a disengaged autistic boy in a classroom setting. They described the potential value of the HHC. They found that it was less intrusive and more easily formatted the data for charting and analysis.

Read more about the findings. Use of a Handheld Computer to Facilitate the Evaluation of Treatment Approaches with an Autistic Student


September 1, 2005
NIMH funds Small Business Technology Transfer Grant

Personal Guidance in Autism Spectrum Disorders

SymTrend, in collaboration with Gary Mesibov, PhD, Director of Division TEACCH at University of North Carolina, were awarded a one-year Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer grant. Minna Levine, PhD, SymTrend's president and Ron Calvanio, PhD, SymTrend's Chief Scientific Officer-Adults, are co-investigators on the grant. The grant, which starts October 1, 2005, will test the implementation and use of a Portable Visual Guidance System, created using the SymTrend website and its software on Palm computers. The research will be conducted at the League School of Greater Boston with teens in a classroom of students with Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism and at the University of North Carolina with adults with AS/HFA.

June 25, 2004
Poster presentation at Complexities of Co-occurring Conditions conference in Washington, D.C. sponsored by National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Electronic Monitoring of Comorbidity in Aspergers Students

Clare O'Callaghan, RN, EdD of the League School of Greater Boston and South End Mental Health Center, Boston, MA presented findings about the use of SymTrend's handheld software for simultaneous monitoring by teachers and students with Aspergers Disorder. She reported that the data helped determine the most appropriate psychopharmacological and behavioral interventions and that the process was well accepted by students.

Read the abstract that summarizes the poster presentation: Electronic Monitoring of Comorbidity in Asperger's Students



November 26, 2003
Presentation at Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society, Boston.

Targeting Treatment for Asperger's Disorder.

Clare O'Callaghan, Herm Fishbein, (Executive Director of the League School of Greater Boston), Cathy Grant, (Special Education Specialist at League School), Ron Calvanio, (Chief Scientific Officer-Adults of SymTrend), and Minna Levine (President of SymTrend), co-authored a talk that was presented by Dr. O'Callaghan at this month's meeting of the Massachusetts Neurological Society. The talk described the use of SymTrend's handheld computing software by teachers and students to conduct simultaneous assessments of student behavior and feelings. Four patterns of responses to self-monitoring were described. Case studies were included in the presentation.

View the presentation: Targeting Treatment for Aspergers Disorder

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