An article today in Newsweek (Autism Wristband Predicts Aggressive Outbursts in Kids With 84% Accuracy) brought up some interesting points. Perhaps I can break this down into three parts. What does 84% accuracy really mean? How much time does this wristband give? And what are you learning by using this device?
This company conducted a study of 20 individuals within an 87-hour period and reported back with the success within that controlled group. The findings were 84% accuracy, which seems fabulous when you look at this and Autism supports next to it. Now, my first question is with regards to the research mentioned within this study that calls out the fact that all of the individuals within the study were regulated at a heightened state throughout their day. The words used where, “Their levels are already at the ceiling.” Matthew Goodwin, director of Computational Behavioral Science laboratory (Northeaster university). What we know about autism research is that the amygdala within the central part of our brain, responsible for flight, fight, or freeze (survival brain) is larger. This is also true of individuals who experience an increased amount of trauma; therefore, we can begin to see that clearly autism coinsides a “stressful and Anxious” experience in most settings. Because of this I am curious what this device would do to mitigate or address stressors within the environment and daily living to help reduce that, rather than simply react to the aggressive outburst?
Next, the research indicated there being approximately 60 seconds for response. Again, this tells me we have time to react, not support. If we are not looking at the variables that led to this event, then we are missing the point and waiting to react. I like the idea of this device being coupled with something like BEHCA where it is recording the exact times of day, where and what is happening so there can be a trail that decodes the behavior and helps support providers/parents know what is happening and why.
And finally, what this wristband is teaching us seems unclear at this point. Perhaps the goal is to continue building time to predict what is coming. How will this be accomplished by only looking at physiological vitals (the inner-workings), rather than a wholistic view of the environment, schedule, health, and physiological aspects? Again, I see this device as something that would be amazing integrated through an API to support the practice of decoding the behavior and understanding the persons experience in the whole picture, rather than just reacting.
As new technology and strategies continue to come out for autism support, I often wonder how quickly we jump as parents and professionals, before we ask questions and think of the outcomes and efficacy that each of those offered items will provide. This article was exciting and fun to read, while also took me back a moment while I began to really think about the implementation of such a device. My brain is also curious what others think of the article and such devices?
Author: Torri Wright