Around 1 in 68 children in the United States is believed to have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ASD is an umbrella term for conditions where individuals communicate and behave in ways that are different from people who are neurotypical. This sometimes manifests in issues with speech, nonverbal communication, social skills, and the repetition of behaviors. In some cases, individuals with ASD have emotional outbursts that can sometimes be destructive and dangerous.
Sudden outbursts of aggressive behavior are an unfortunate reality for individuals with ASD and their families. In order to minimize the harm these outbursts can bring, it may be helpful for caregivers to have advanced notice that an outburst is coming. Scientists have now developed a wearable device that they say can predict outbursts in individuals with ASD.
The new device can be worn on the wrist. The technology detects signs of stress by monitoring the individual's heart rate, skin temperature, sweating, and arm movements. Scientists say the device can predict an outburst approximately 60 seconds before it happens with an accuracy rate of 84%.
To test the device, scientists conducted a study involving 20 children with ASD who were prone to aggressive outbursts. The children wore the devices for a period of 87 hours. Researchers noted physiological changes and changes in behavior. Researchers then looked at this data to determine the types of changes that preceded an aggressive outburst.
Having advanced warning of an aggressive outburst can be a gamechanger for those caring for individuals with ASD. It can prevent caregivers from being caught off guard and give them an opportunity to potentially redirect or calm the aggression. They would also be able to remove that person to a safe environment or remove other individuals from the space for their safety. A great deal can be accomplished with even just a minute’s notice that an outburst is about to begin.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.