Automatic Detection and Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

Automatic Detection and Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

Thanga Aarthy M., Menaka R., Karthik R.
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7630-4.ch020
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Children with neurodevelopmental disorders are increasing gradually every year. One in 100 children are diagnosed with brain function disorder. There are wide categories of disorder such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder, learning, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), etc. In this work, the focus is on ASD, its clinical methods, and analysis in various research works. ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which affects the intellectual functioning, social interaction (adaptive behavior), and has a specific obsessive interest. At present, there is no known cure for ASD, but the level of the pathological condition can be reduced when it is detected early. Early detection is tough and challenging till date. Many researches were carried out to ease the early detection for clinicians. Each method has its own merits and demerits. This chapter reviews and condenses various research works and their efficacy in analysis for the early diagnosis and improvement in children with autism.
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The human brain composes of a compound neural connectivity between brain regions. A neuron is a nerve cell, which transmits information to another as an electrical impulse through specialized connections called synapses. Higher synaptic excitation means higher processing in the brain and vice versa. The relationship between functional brain wiring and cognitive development enhances the understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders (Bosl et al., 2011). Autism is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder that occurs due to deficits in specified brain region. Early evaluation of autism is not accurate hence exists a gap between the first evaluation (15-22 months) and first diagnosis (27-37 months) in children with autism. This delay in treatment of children with autism deteriorates the quality of life for children (Fein et al., 2001). Impairment symptoms in children with autism increases after 24 months at a higher rate.

Figure 1.

Characteristics of children with Autism


Three specific areas, such as communication, social interaction, and motor, are essential factors that classified autism into autistic disorder, Asperger's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder. Children with the autistic disorder show Impairment in interactive, cognitive, communication, language skills, behavior and are also Self-injurious and constitute about 20% of the autism population. Children with Asperger's syndrome are coined as high functioning autism children. Autistic disorder constitutes 80% of autism population possess speech and cognitive ability but struggle with social interaction. The third category is called a pervasive developmental disorder, which constitutes below 5 -7% of the autism population and possesses speech and social interaction developmental delay. A prominent biomarker before 24 months could be helpful to diagnose autism at an early stage.

Figure 2.

Automatic detection of ASD – an overview


Key Terms in this Chapter

Artificial Intelligence: It refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions.

ASD: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life.

Machine Learning: Machine learning (ML) is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows software applications to become more accurate at predicting outcomes without being explicitly programmed to do so.

Feature Extraction: It is the name for methods that select and /or combine variables into features, effectively reducing the amount of data that must be processed, while still accurately and completely describing the original data set.

Autism: A developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Parents often notice signs during the first three years of their child's life.

EEG: An electroencephalogram is a test used to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells communicate with each other through electrical impulses. An EEG can be used to help detect potential problems associated with this activity. An EEG tracks and records brain wave patterns.

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