A project on autism
- LIS focuses on the interaction of the gaze
- The development part of CobTek and the Centre Ressources Autisme (CRA) focuse on the clinical part and provides the interview videos.
- The company Wita, which specialises in 3D videos, is in charge of the installation, software, etc.
- Inria's Stars team for the analysis part of the general movement of the body
Speech and language therapists "listening to the gaze".
While the link between the autism research project and speech and language therapists is not obvious at first glance, it becomes clearer when Suzanne Thummler explains how their particular skills and qualities give them the opportunity to make an important contribution to this study.
Indeed, they are people who, by their profession, have a great sense of observation, an indispensable and unavoidable element in order to identify each and every detail of the patient's behaviour.
It goes without saying that everything has been put in place for this study to ensure that the ethical rules are respected.
Speech and language therapy studies are now associated with the university (bachelor's then master's degree) and take place over 5 years (instead of 4) with access to research training during the two years of the master's degree. It is within this framework that speech and language therapy students have the opportunity to join research institutes for a few days. In view of the health situation, everyone had to adapt. Nevertheless, the students were able to get to know, virtually, one research team per day, including the Inria Stars team, and thus participate in the project of Susanne Thummler and the team.
From the study of videos to algorithms
- The gaze: an autistic person has the peculiarity of not looking the Other in the face. It will then be necessary, for example, to identify what his gaze is like, if he looks for a long time, often, etc.
- Gestures: it allows, among other things, to identify the repeated and stereotyped gestures of a child with autism, for example "flapping" (flapping of the arms and hands) or rocking of the body; whether these movements are present, frequent, prolonged, etc.
The precision of the video annotations provided by clinicians and specialists could then allow the creation of high-performance algorithms and an easier diagnosis of autism. Indeed, reducing the time spent by the clinician in analysing what can be automated would allow him to focus on other aspects and details of the patient's assessment.
- for points that cannot be taken into account at the moment because of the large amount of existing and sometimes imperceptible information at first sight
- by a quantification of abnormal movements such as stereotypes with an association with the severity of autism: mild, severe, etc.
in view of the amount of existing information in a video. A parallel could be drawn with the elements provided by an X-ray, a scanner, or an MRI.