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Dr Mohammed Taj-Eldin: Incoming Fellow

Project Title: Development of assistive sensing technology to help individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or Intellectual Disability, their families and caregivers in early prediction and detection of challenging behaviour.

Host Institution: Tyndall Institute, UCC

Host PI: Dr Paul Galvin

Home Institution: KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY, Manhattan, KS

Email: mohammed.tajeldin@tyndall.ie

Project Summary: Living a healthy lifestyle is of paramount importance for the wellbeing of individual to be productive and integrated into his/her society. Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and/or Intellectual disability, however, typically experience frequent form of challenging behaviour. Challenging behaviours such as aggression, self-injury have major impacts on the family and seriously affect the ability of such individuals to reside in more normalising environments. Existing approaches of treating and managing challenging behaviours rely mainly on direct observation. Although such approaches are useful, clinicians can mostly detect the challenging behaviour and then react and intervene once it is vividly displayed. These approaches rely on passive intervention. Assistive technology proposed for this research, however, provides a proactive way of early prediction and detection of challenging behaviour. The sensing technology utilises real-time monitoring and diagnosis of challenging behaviours in service users with ASD/ID, to inform and optimise treatment programmes. As such, it will bridge the information gap between the clinical understanding underpinning the diagnosis of the different types of challenging behaviour, and the ability to have real-time monitoring of service users to measure the efficacy of a treatment programme, and where applicable, adapt and optimise the treatment programme. In addition, the project seeks to enable early diagnosis of challenging behaviours, which could facilitate early intervention by carers/parents to remove the person or the source of anxiety, and thereby prevent occurrences of self-harm. As such, the proposed project is an opportunity to provide a comprehensive treatment package by efficiently utilising biomedical sensing technologies to complement and support behavioural interventions leading to improved quality of life for individuals with ASD/ID.

Bio: Dr. Mohammed Taj-Eldin completed his Ph.D. at Kansas State University, USA in 2015. His PhD research was funded by NASA and aimed at developing wireless wearable biomedical sensors for astronauts including the collection of several vital body parameters for future space missions. Besides his PhD work, Mohammed was involved in other research projects including developing a wireless wearable sensing for early detection of self-abusive behaviour in children with autism in collaboration with HeartSpring, Wichita, Kansas; a daycare and service centre for children with special needs including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Dr. Mohammed received his B.Eng. in Informatics Engineering from the University of Aleppo in 2008 and M.Sc. in Radio Frequency Communications and Signal Processing (Electrical Engineering) in 2011. After his PhD, Dr. Mohammed has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Power Electronics Research Centre at the National University of Ireland Galway. His research was focused on developing novel electromagnetic coils for wireless charging of active medical implantable devices (pain management application). Since 2016, Dr. Taj-Eldin has been a postdoctoral researcher at Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork developing wearable patch for ambulatory cardiac monitoring for patients with heart arrhythmias. At the moment, as an ASSISTID Fellow, Mohammed is investigating a wearable technology to support children with ASD and intellectual disabilities, their families and caregivers in early prediction and detection of challenging behaviour.