Industry News

Wearable Device May Be Able to Predict Autism Aggression

January 8, 2019

By: Joe Lawlor, Portland Press Herald/TNS

Source: Disability Scoop

WESTBROOK, Maine — Ethan Datsis examined what appeared to be a watch, turning it over a few times before agreeing to have a health professional attach it to his wrist. He seemed to forget about it while anticipating a spaghetti dinner, one of his favorite meals.

Ethan, 17, who has autism and is nonverbal and is staying temporarily at Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook, is part of a $3.1 million national study headed up by MaineHealth that will research how wearable technology could help children with autism and their families.

The three-year study that started last fall will track 200 children and their families in Maine, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. The goal is to see whether the devices can predict aggressive episodes, alerting caretakers such as nurses, aides and parents. If the caretakers receive warnings, they can try to calm down or divert the attention of the children, avoiding assaults or self-injury.

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