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Researchers Unveil Eye-tracking Device To Speed Up Autism Diagnosis In Kids

The Marcus Autism Center, a subsidiary of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, has pioneered a groundbreaking technology known as EarliPoint Evaluation developed by Ami Klin, PhD, and Warren R. Jones, PhD. This innovative tool is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, designed to assist in the early diagnosis and assessment of autism in children aged 16 to 30 months.

Understanding EarliPoint Evaluation

EarliPoint Evaluation incorporates a portable tablet where young children engage with videos of social interactions. Its ability to monitor the child's "looking behavior" with incredible precision sets it apart. The device provides valuable insights into their developmental progress by tracking what social information the child is focusing on and what they are not.

Data Collection at Unprecedented Speed

One of the most remarkable features of EarliPoint Evaluation is its data collection speed. It captures data 120 times per second, enabling clinicians to comprehensively analyze a child's behaviour within 12 minutes. This data-driven approach allows a moment-by-moment comparison of the child's looking behaviour with typically developing peers.

Clinical Evaluation and Customized Treatment

Clinicians play a pivotal role in utilizing the data collected by EarliPoint Evaluation. They review the comprehensive dataset and provide pediatric patients and their families with a diagnosis. The tool also measures the child's social disability, verbal ability, and non-verbal learning skills. This information allows clinicians to collaborate with families to create tailored treatment plans.

Research Validating its Efficacy

In the discovery study, the test achieved a sensitivity of 81.9 percent and a specificity of 89.9 percent. The replication study confirmed these findings, with a sensitivity of 80.6 percent and a specificity of 82.3 percent. The test results correlated with expert clinical assessments of children's abilities, further validating its accuracy.

The Promise of Early Diagnosis

Early diagnosis is crucial in treating autism, as it allows for timely interventions that capitalize on the brain's greater neuroplasticity in younger children. Only one in four children with autism is identified before age three. The EarliPoint Evaluation technology aims to change this statistic by facilitating earlier diagnoses and interventions, potentially transforming countless children's and their families' lives.

The EarliPoint Evaluation technology developed by the Marcus Autism Center holds immense promise in autism diagnosis and intervention. With its ability to collect data at unprecedented speeds and its strong validation through rigorous research, this innovative tool offers hope for earlier diagnoses and more effective treatments, ultimately improving the lives of children with autism and their families.

 

 

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