From Stanford University Engineering: “Dennis Wall: The changing face of autism diagnosis and treatment”

From Stanford University Engineering

April 02, 2019

This article is part of the series: The Future of Everything

AI is reshaping diagnosis of autism, making it quicker, less expensive and more accurate. As a result, interventions are coming earlier in life, a key to more effective treatment.

An app developed by Wall could help children with autism learn to understand facial expressions. | iStock/Joan Vincent Cantó Roig

The current process for diagnosing autism requires no less than 10 hours of intensive doctor-to-patient observation.

It is expensive and time-consuming, says autism expert Dennis Wall, an associate professor of pediatrics and of biomedical data science at Stanford. Wall is developing new ways to tackle the problem.

He says advances in machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence focused on training computers to perform important medical tasks, stand to shake up the field. He’s developing computer models that can spot autism by watching just a few minutes of video of a child at play in their natural home environment.

With these technologies, diagnosis happens in as little as four minutes. In addition, Wall says, scoring can be done by non-experts, rather than highly trained psychiatrists, lowering the costs further. He thinks such AI models could reduce bottlenecks and get kids with autism into treatment sooner, a key to maximizing the treatment’s effect.

Beyond diagnosis, Wall says that digital technologies together with AI are also changing therapeutics. For example, he’s developing augmented reality applications, one for Google Glass, that can help autistic kids better recognize and learn emotional cues – anger, joy, sadness – in the faces of others, a particular challenge for those with autism. Another that goes beyond the wearable form factor to even more ubiquitous technologies – your phone – is an app that can teach social skills through fun but poignant AI-enabled games, such as charades, where imitation advances the child’s social skills as the AI engine tracks progress automatically.

Join host Russ Altman and autism expert Dennis Wall for a peek into the rapidly changing world of autism diagnosis and treatment. You can listen to the Future of Everything on Sirius XM Insight Channel 121, iTunes, SoundCloud and Stanford Engineering Magazine.

See the full article here .


Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

Stanford University

Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members

Stanford University Seal