San Diego’s Gary and Mary West Health Institute will donate its technical and clinical assets of its autism research program to Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences in order to develop more effective interventions for the disorder.
According to a news release, West Health Institute’s autism research team has been investigating since 2012 how gaming technology, like Microsoft’s Kinect, can supplement behavioral therapy and improve social interaction for those with autism. West Health conducted a feasibility study with Rady Children’s Hospital to see if children and their families could use the prototype software independently to improve social skills. Results showed that children were engaged and learned from using the software.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is characterized by difficulties with social interaction. Research estimates more than 70 million people have this disorder and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder. The most common therapy type for children is personalized training of social skills.
The West Health Institute is a nonprofit medical research organization dedicated to pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices to make healthcare accessible at lower cost.