Health: Autism and Diagnosis

The Story:

Family doctors usually screen children for autism, or more generally for “autism spectrum disorder,” at age 18 months and again at 2 years. Unfortunately, ASD often does not manifest itself behaviorally until a child is 4 years old. Children whose neurodevelopmental condition goes undiagnosed may face a tougher road ahead than they have to. Fortunately, artificial intelligence may help provide more children with early diagnoses.


A recent article by Dr. Andrew J. Schuman in Psychiatric Times has argued that a range of AI based diagnostic approaches could help expedite the diagnosis of children with ASD.

In Pill Form:

As Schuman writes, “AI is particularly useful for identifying patterns within data, and it therefore can be advantageous in identifying markers associated with an ASD diagnosis. AI algorithms are only as good as the training datasets inputted into a diagnostic system, but they do have the potential to improve medical care.”

The question then is: what will be the inputs of these algorithms? Schuman suggests the use of “facial expressions, vocalizations, touch sensitivity, eye tracking, movements, and interactions with robots.”

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