Is your child's behavior worrying you? This app might help.

Meet Greta. She's a mom who's concerned about her daughter's behavior.

"My 4-year-old daughter Chiara throws some tantrums that are so severe they can last for almost an hour and she has a hard time sitting still," Greta told Upworthy. "Just the thought of taking her to a restaurant gives me anxiety."


It's not always happy smiles for Greta and Chiara. Photo from Greta Biagi, used with permission.

There are a lot of parents like Greta who struggle with their kids' behavior β€” whether it's tantrums, lack of verbalization, or something else β€” and wonder if it's just a phase or something more serious.

Approximately 15% of children in the U.S. have developmental disorders ranging from impaired speech to behavioral issues. Knowing the warning signs early can make a big difference in the life of a child.

Cognoa, a consumer healthcare startup, decided to throw its hat in the ring to help give parents peace of mind.

Even though parents understand that early intervention is important, access to quality healthcare assessments can be difficult and expensive.

That's why Cognoa is helping parents track their kids' development with clinical-grade behavioral assessments that are free and easy to get.

The company created an app based on technology developed at Harvard and Stanford medical schools. Data collected from over 100,000 parents with kids between the ages of 18 months and 6 years is used to identify risks for developmental delays using complex algorithms.

"Cognoa is building a dataset with tens of thousands of parents to better understand what behaviors are most concerning to families of young children," said Brent Vaughan, CEO of Cognoa. "We want to use this information to empower every parent to best help their children early, when it matters most."

That's the science-y part.

Thankfully the process for parents is pretty simple.

Just download the Cognoa app and answer 15 questions about your child. It's only takes a few minutes.



Then, you'll get some preliminary results to look over.

All of the preliminary results are provided with some super helpful tips. Photo from Cognoa, used with permission.

And for parents who want more detailed analysis of their children, Cognoa allows them to upload short videos of their little ones at home. The video is then reviewed by analysts who provide an assessment.

For those who want even more detail, Cognoa is able to accommodate them. Photo from Cognoa, used with permission.

The folks at Cognoa stress that they do not provide medical advice. (And there are some experts who wonder if there is an actual gain to screening young children for developmental disorders.)

Instead, the app's purpose is to provide guidance and education to parents about their kids' development. As always, parents should consult pediatricians if they're concerned about the behavior of their children.

But for parents like Greta, this kind of check-in was exactly what she needed. After completing the assessment for Chiara, she was able to determine that her daughter is right on track.

"Chiara is a very bright kid, but she's also very strong-willed," Greta said. "Using this app let me breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there's nothing more serious going on."

A big part of having peace of mind as a parent is knowing that you're not alone.

Whether there's a serious issue at hand or not, dealing with a child's confusing behavior is a big challenge for any parent.

Luckily, Cognoa has thousands of registered parents who have similar parenting concerns. Being a part of its parent groups provides users with that "we're in this together" feeling that a lot moms and dads value.

There are thousands of parents to lean on for advice and support. Photo from Cognoa, used with permission.

Got questions? Feel free to ask and get feedback from other parents.

Getting parental peace of mind on a smartphone is invaluable. Photo from Cognoa, used with permission.

One mom wishes the Cognoa app was available a few years ago for her young son.

Michelle has a 5-year-old son named Jacob with autism spectrum disorder. After using the Cognoa app, she knows a lot of parents would benefit from it.

Michelle and her son Jacob are all smiles. Photo from Michelle Mironer, used with permission.

"I used to go online and take various autism tests and came away completely confused," Michelle said. "Using the app confirmed what I already knew about Jacob, but I can see it being really helpful for the parents who are unsure about their kids' development."

We all want to give our kids the best chance to live happy and healthy lives, and it looks like the folks at Cognoa are doing their part to ensure parents have the necessary information to make that a reality.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Cipolla's graph with the benefits and losses that an individual causes to him or herself and causes to others.

Have you ever known someone who was educated, well-spoken, and curious, but had a real knack for making terrible decisions and bringing others down with them? These people are perplexing because we're trained to see them as intelligent, but their lives are a total mess.

On the other hand, have you ever met someone who may not have a formal education or be the best with words, but they live wisely and their actions uplift themselves and others?

In 1976, Italian economist Carlo Cipolla wrote a tongue-and-cheek essay called "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity" that provides a great framework for judging someone's real intelligence. Now, the term stupid isn't the most artful way of describing someone who lives unwisely, but in his essay Cipolla uses it in a lighthearted way.

Cipolla explains his theory of intelligence through five basic laws and a matrix that he belives applies to everyone.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."