Multi-modular AI Approach to Streamline Autism Diagnosis in Young Children

Halim AbbasFord GarbersonStuart Liu-MayoEric Glover & Dennis P. Wall 

Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 5014 (2020) Cite this article 2 Altmetric | Metricsdetails


Autism has become a pressing healthcare challenge. The instruments used to aid diagnosis are time and labor expensive and require trained clinicians to administer, leading to long wait times for at-risk children. We present a multi-modular, machine learning-based assessment of autism comprising three complementary modules for a unified outcome of diagnostic-grade reliability: A 4-minute, parent-report questionnaire delivered via a mobile app, a list of key behaviors identified from 2-minute, semi-structured home videos of children, and a 2-minute questionnaire presented to the clinician at the time of clinical assessment. We demonstrate the assessment reliability in a blinded, multi-site clinical study on children 18-72 months of age (n = 375) in the United States. It outperforms baseline screeners administered to children by 0.35 (90% CI: 0.26 to 0.43) in AUC and 0.69 (90% CI: 0.58 to 0.81) in specificity when operating at 90% sensitivity. Compared to the baseline screeners evaluated on children less than 48 months of age, our assessment outperforms the most accurate by 0.18 (90% CI: 0.08 to 0.29 at 90%) in AUC and 0.30 (90% CI: 0.11 to 0.50) in specificity when operating at 90% sensitivity.

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