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New iPad app can spot autism in children

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Children with autism can be discovered by a new iPad game app . Researchers found that those with the condition exert much pressure on the device while they play the game.

Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.

According to Dr. Jonathan Delafield-Butt at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, “It’s a potential major breakthrough for early identification of autism, because no stressful and expensive tests by clinicians are needed.” Adding that, the new game offers a cheaper, fast and fun way of testing for autism. Autism spectrum disorder is a childhood neuro-developmental disorder. It occur in one in 160 children globally.

The iPad game initiative is a collaboration between the University of Strathclyde and a start-up company, Harimata. It’s believed that using iPad games to track a player’s hand movements is less intrusive way to check for autism.

Anna Anzulewicz, a director of research at Harimata revealed that the iPad based games seemed to be perfect, and they are embedded with powerful sensors which allow for more accurate measurement of the children’s play dynamics.

In a study, 37 children with autism and 45 children without the disorder aged three to seven were gathered by researchers to examine their movement data. To begin the test, the team added code to two commercially available games for children in order for them to capture sensor and touchscreen data as they played.

Games played by children with autism were found to have patterns consisted of greater force of impact than others. There was a different distribution of forces within a gesture and gesture kinematics were faster and larger. These data support the notion disruption to movement which is a main attribute of autism. It shows autism can be discovered by just playing a game on an iPad. .


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