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According to the World Health Organization , one in every 160 children has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), although other estimates say that it can affect one in 68 school-age children . Its diagnosis is made by observing the child's behavior. Knowing how its development is and applying a battery of specific neuropsychological and neuro linguistic tests to detect the presence of signs and symptoms of autism.

Up to 500 children are awaiting a diagnosis in the Valencian Community. That is why the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and the Red Cenit have developed the non-invasive project T-Room, which is capable of discriminating an autistic child from a normotypic child in 80% of cases with tests that, through artificial intelligence and virtual reality, are performed in less than 60 minutes compared to current tests, which can take up to 15 hours. In addition, the treatment is improved by personalizing it. This method has been unveiled on the occasion of World Autism Day, which was celebrated last Tuesday.

Thus, the director of the UVP's I3B institute, Mariano AlcaƱiz, and the director of the Red Cenit Cognitive Development centers, Luis Abad, explained it at a press conference to demonstrate this pioneering method in the world in the diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). The project is co-financed by the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) and Feder Funds.

What is the OBJETIVE?
This project has a double objective: on the one hand, to evaluate the social interaction, repetitive behavior and sensory abilities of ASD children in different environments in order to later prepare them to act in that environment, which accurately reproduces the real conditions of the place.

For this, they have a room on whose walls a projection system is located that shows the real conditions in three dimensions to be able to make a visual, auditory and olfactory stimulation of a certain situation. This recreation is possible through the use of Eye Tracking glasses, which allow the child's gaze to be tracked, and cameras that analyze movements and warn of possible alterations associated with this disorder.

In addition, a bracelet is placed on their non-dominant hand that collects skin sweating since electrodermal responses can be one of the indicators of the condition because ASDs are different in children. In this way, their level of fear, anxiety or avoidance states are measured in a non-invasive way when they are exposed to auditory stimuli of a social nature and must face the direct gaze of another person.

This model allows an early diagnosis, since in Spain the average age ranges between 3 and a half years and 5 and a half years depending on the community. Abad has stressed the need to advance the diagnosis to "have more time for intervention on minors in the fundamental period of the most significant brain plasticity, which is up to 7 years." The goal is to be able to diagnose ASD at 12 months.

The first pilot tests , the research is in the second phase of trials, have been carried out with a group of 99 years – 51 ASD children and 48 normotypic children – aged between 3 and 7 years in 30- minute sessions.