A New Tool for Autism Diagnosis and Treatment: Motion Sensors

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine and Rutgers University have recently developed a method for autism diagnosis and therapy, using a motion sensor for screening. This motion sensor screening tool was tested on 78 children and adults with autism, with varying levels of abilities. According to the data, the tool correctly diagnosed the 78 participants, accurately marking gender differences and individual progress throughout their therapies.

This screening tool is attached to the participant, measuring response movements to different images and “analyzes the importance of changes in movement and movement sensing, enabling the identification of stable capabilities in each individual.” [i] Each person responds to images and media clips differently, and this motion sensor tool accurately pinpoints each person’s movement.

Another interest component is the tool’s ability to teach self-motivation to the participant. As previous studies show, many people with autism struggle with the motivation to learn new concepts, and this method recognizes it. 25 children from the study were given media visuals, with the option of choosing which ones they liked and would work for them. According to Dr. Elizabeth Torres, assistant professor of psychology at the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University,

“Every time the children cross a certain region in space, the media they like best goes on. They start out randomly exploring their surroundings. They seek where in space that interesting spot is which causes the media to play, and then they do so more systematically. Once they see a cause-and-effect connection, they move deliberately. The action becomes an intentional behavior.”

At this moment in time, the only way for a child or adult to be diagnosed with autism is from a specialists’ opinion, judging by the person’s behaviors and levels of development. This method could revolutionize the way people are diagnosed with autism, providing more concrete data for the diagnosis.



[i] “Medical News Today” ‘Motion sensor’ may aid autism diagnosis and treatment. 27 Jul 2013. Web. < http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263927.php>

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