- In the backdrop of the World Autism Awareness Day, doctors at AIIMS have developed a mobile app for early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
- World Autism Awareness Day is observed on April 2 every year.
About the App
- The app developed is called PedNeuroAiimsDiagnostics.
- It is a questionnaire-based app which has 2 sections of questionnaire
- Section A has questions to assess the social interaction and communication skills
- Section B has questions to analyse the response given to questions in section A.
- Based on the response to the questionnaire the app analyses if the child has any of the Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Accordingly the following cases are considered to be suffering with ASD
- A child who cannot babble or point or gesture by 12 months
- Couldn’t say single word by 16 months
- Couldn’t say any two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months
- Loss of language or social skills at any age.
- The App is easy to use with even a paediatrician can assess the test results.
- The app is very sensitive in that detects 98% of cases.
- It is also very specific in that it predicts specifically which of the ASD in 92% of the cases.
In focus: Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Autism is a developmental disorder associated with the neurological condition of the child.
- It shows signs in the first 3 years of child development.
- Autism is a brain malfunction mainly associated with impairments in 3 main areas
- Communication skills
- Social interactions
- Repetitive and restricted activities
- Autism mainly occurs due to abnormalities in brain structure and function which can occur due to varied reasons.
- As a result Autism is grouped under a spectrum of disorders called Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Common behavior pattern
- In general autistic individual s have different ways of ‘sensing’ their world
- Lack of emotional connection
- Lack of eye contact while communicating
- Not reacting or inconsistently reacting when their name is called out
- Hypersensitivity to noise
- Lost in own thoughts
- Hitting or biting themselves
- Lack of non-verbal communication
- Inability to follow objects visually
- Inability to make friends
- Repetitive body movements
- Repeating their own sentences
- There is no single cause for Autism.
- Different children suffering from Autism are due to different causes.
- Some commonly identified factors include
- Gene mutations: No single gene is associated with Autism.
- Environmental stresses
- Parental age at the time of conception
- Maternal illnesses during pregnancy
- Mother who is a victim of drug and alcohol abuse
- Oxygen deprivation to the child’s brain etc
- However it should be noted that there is no conclusive direct correlation with any of the factors above listed.
- Since no two individual suffer from Autism due to same cause, different conditions are grouped under ASD.
- It can vary between mild learning and social disability, to more complex emotional and physical disabilities.
- Mild form of Autism
- Obsessive interest in a particular object or subject
Pervasive developmental disorder
- This is more severe than Asperger’s syndrome
- No two people suffering from the disease will exhibit the same symptoms
- Common symptoms include
- Poor social interaction
- Impaired language skills
- Most severe form of ASD.
- Multiple impairments
- Mental retardation and seizures
Note: Rett syndrome and Childhood disintegrative disorder are rare ASDs