START: a Tablet-Based Platform to Detect Autism Risk

Description Screening Tool for Autism Risk Using Technology – START: Developing a Tablet-Based Platform to Detect Autism Risk in Low-Resource Settings

Presenters: Indu Dubey & Bhismadev Chakrabarti, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Schedule: Thursday 7th June 16:30-17:00, G34

Description: The “Screening Tool for Autism Risk using Technology” (START) project is developing an open-source, scalable autism screening tool in the form of an app that can be run on a tablet computer with minimal training. This app will be demonstrated to at the presentation. The app includes behavioural tasks to measure social preference, motor function, sensory interest, and has a hybrid parent-report questionnaires. A key innovation is tablet-camera based eye tracking, allowing capture of very low-resolution gaze direction data for coarse measures such as preferential looking and attentional disengagement, without the need for an external eye-tracker. Motor function tests are built in light of the emerging data from similar tablet-based tasks on the iOS platform (Anzulewicz, Sobota, & Delafield-Butt, 2016; Belmonte et al., 2016). The app also includes a task measure of social motivation previously associated with a group difference in children with autism (Ruta et al., 2017). Finally, the app includes a free-play section that provides an opportunity to video-record parent-child play interaction for subsequent analysis.
We will have tablet computers with the app that will be available for the attendees to explore various tests.


Anzulewicz, A., Sobota, K., & Delafield-Butt, J. T. (2016). Toward the Autism Motor Signature: Gesture patterns during smart tablet gameplay identify children with autism. Scientific Reports, 6(1), 31107.

Belmonte, M. K., Weisblatt, E. J., Rybicki, A., Cook, B., Langensiepen, C. S., Brown, D. J., ... & Karanth, P. (2016, October). Can Computer-Assisted Training of Prerequisite Motor Skills Help Enable Communication in People with Autism?. In Interactive Technologies and Games (iTAG), 2016 International Conference on (pp. 13-20). IEEE.
Ruta, L., Famà, F. I., Bernava, G. M., Leonardi, E., Tartarisco, G., Falzone, A., … Chakrabarti, B. (2017). Reduced preference for social rewards in a novel tablet based task in young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 3329.

Bee task

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