AI could help in the early diagnosis of autism, USC study finds
December 20, 2023
Results indicate an “easy and novel” way to detect autism spectrum disorders, paving the way for tailored therapeutic approaches.
By Leigh Hopper
Artificial intelligence, coupled with data from an iPad coloring game, could assist in early diagnosis of autism, a new USC study shows.
“These results indicate potential for an easy and novel method for early detection of autism and development coordination disorder,” said senior author Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, a professor at the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. “This is especially important as motor signatures appear early in autism — usually before social symptoms. And this methodology does not involve potential biasing by the assessor.”
The results appear in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Previous studies have shown it is possible to use technology to categorize autism from typically developing individuals, but it can be difficult to distinguish autism from other similar developmental disorders. For example, developmental coordination disorder — primarily a motor skills disorder — has features that overlap with autism. Children with autism spectrum disorder often have both motor and sensory deficits in addition to the social deficits that are the hallmark of the disorder.
“Early identification allows for tailored therapeutic approaches, which result in better long-term developmental outcomes,” said first author Christiana Dodd Butera, a postdoctoral fellow at the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. “Having the appropriate therapy for the appropriate child at the most impactful time in development would be the long-term goal of this detection work.”
Read “AI could help in the early diagnosis of autism, USC study finds” at USC Today.