About one in every 150 American children is diagnosed with autism, according to WebMD. Chances are, you know someone who has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or someone who is affected by it. Autism awareness grows every year, with advocacy groups and benefit walks springing up regularly across the nation. But we still don’t really understand a whole lot about it. We don’t know the cause, although numerous factors are suspected to contribute to it. And there is no cure for it, either.
Autism can result in many different symptoms – from behavioral problems to sensory defensiveness to social difficulties. Children with ASD also tend to display speech and language issues. Some of them are nonverbal and prefer to communicate with gestures. Although there is no cure for autism, researchers do know that early intervention is critical. Children who receive speech therapy and other treatments tend to respond better when the treatment begins as early as possible. Unfortunately, most cases of autism aren’t diagnosed until symptoms are evident around the time the child is 2-3 years old. This is why the research from Georgia Tech’s Center for Behavior Imaging is so exciting. Researchers have been working on technologies that would allow for earlier detection of ASD, and subsequently, earlier treatment.