Programme led by

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 123 St Stephens Green, Dublin 2, Ireland

Wearable technology for management of anxiety in Autism

Autism is a neurological disorder which can affect how people communicate with others, interact with the world around them and experience different environments. Social interactions can be challenging, with difficulties responding to and expressing emotions, and differences in communication styles. Certain environments may lead to excessive sensory information which may overload the person. These scenarios can cause stress and anxiety during day to day activities for autistic people. A recent survey by the National Autistic Society in the UK reported that 94% of autistic adults reported experiencing anxiety, and 47% of autistic people have been diagnosed with severe anxiety. Understanding anxiety triggers that occur throughout the day is an important step in managing anxiety. Being able to recognise feelings of anxiety is necessary in order to take steps to alleviate the anxiety. Relaxation strategies can help to relieve anxiety, and other therapies such as deep pressure have been found to be of benefit.

The aim of this study is to use wearable sensors to monitor physiological signals. such as heart rate, breathing and electrodermal activity, throughout the day and use AI to characterise an individual’s response to events which cause anxiety. This analysis will include context-awareness of the person’s activities. In order to respond to the level of anxiety, a wearable device providing dynamic compression will be developed to provide deep pressure therapy to the user. The level of compression will be determined by the individual’s needs and the efficacy of this therapeutic intervention will be evaluated