AI Can Be Used To Solve for Autism

I hate the puzzle. As a mom and a data-driven person, I don’t understand why we cannot solve for the autism puzzle when 1 in 59 children in the US are diagnosed with autism and the diagnoses are increasing exponentially. I hear it’s so variable, so multi-factorial and if you meet one individual on the spectrum, you meet one person on the spectrum. True. But have we ever shied away for solving for multi-faceted problems for brands who were willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single measurement project? I would argue that we do have the statistical skills and life science knowledge to solve for autism. We lack the data.

We lack the kind of robust datasets that connect the dots between all that our children are exposed to and all that they show and do. When we have these threads of data, we can test for a myriad of variances simultaneously leveraging AI driven data science platforms. While a typical scientific study may be testing 1-5 hypotheses, we can go through 100s of hypotheses with AI in one study and quickly improve upon our knowledge.

My hope is for organizations such as the NJ Autism Center of Excellence, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Duke University, Epidemic Answers and others (e.g., ABA agencies) who are at the frontiers of this issue to be able to pool the data we need in this field. We need to understand why our children are having sensory motor issues that lead to behaviors. We need to tease out the environment’s impact on autism. And we need to empower our practitioners to optimize on therapies (ABA, speech, OT) and alternative interventions (homeopathy, neuro feedback, acupressure, etc. ) so that our children can have happy, productive lives.

AI-Driven Therapies

If you needed a bit of help and support, would you be more likely to talk to a robot than a live therapist? WoeBot and Wysa apps are just two apps at the forefront of AI-based therapies providing patients with cognitive behavior therapy on demand.

Wondering how the idea would resonate, I pressure tested this concept among my family and friend circle. Guess what happened: the introverts lit up at the idea! For them, opening up to a person who might layer more judgment and stress to the process (however unintentional it may be) was adding to their emotional burden. Talking to a ‘machine’ to get answers was actually opening up the path to therapy for these individuals. Of course we still need to see data on how effective the bots are vs live therapists— broken across issues and challenges. Then there is the issue of insurance coverage and process. Maybe this is a good way to side step it all!

If AI-based therapy helps people who otherwise would not have sought help, wouldn’t we be closer to finding balance and peace? What do you think?