Grants awarded

Establishing objective measures for identifying children with autism spectrum disorders using eye-tracking technology in the UK and India

Grantholder:

Dr Georgia Lockwood-Estrin

Birkbeck, University of London

United Kingdom

There are many people around the world who are affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD), sometimes resulting in a high degree of disability. People with ASD have difficulties in social communication and interaction and it is often associated with repetitive behaviours. In low-income countries, such as in India, health system challenges have meant that a large number of children with ASD go without any treatment or care. This is in part due to them receiving a diagnosis late in their development, or not at all. Current diagnosis of ASD is a complex process, and so clearly defined objective markers for ASD symptoms would provide much needed improvements in identifying people with ASD. One well-known trait of ASD is unusual eye contact that can be objectively measured with eye-tracking technology. This has the potential to identify children with ASD.

The goal of this project is to establish the use of this eye-tracking technology to improve ASD detection in high and low-income countries, specifically in the UK and India. Improving detection of ASD in these countries would mean that a greater number of children would benefit from early interventions.