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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

Project Summary: 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. 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.