Building tomorrow, together

Future50 Appeal | David's story -
Trialling a biometric wristband ahead of the UK’s first trial of this technology with people with autism. This is an early pilot of the technology, allowing Autism Together staff to get used to working with the technology (for example, seeing whether someone with autism will accept wearing a wristband and ensuring the sensors are always in contact with skin).
Biometric, future50, Autism Together, wristband
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‘Our son sleeps for two hours per night’. How biometric technology could help one man with autism have a better quality of life

David is trialling a biometric wristband ahead of the UK’s first trial of this technology with people with autism. This is an early pilot of the technology, allowing Autism Together staff to get used to working with the technology (for example, seeing whether someone with autism will accept wearing a wristband and ensuring the sensors are always in contact with skin).

Biometric wristbands enable carers to ‘see inside’ the person with autism. They monitor minute physiological changes such as skin surface temperature and pulse – and these can point to rising agitation and anxiety. The wristbands also measure three-dimensional limb movements – rapid and repetitive movements are often a sign of increasing anxiety.

David’s particular issue is that he sleeps very little – sometimes only two hours per night – and is often exhausted but just can’t settle. Whereas most people with severe sleep problems could attend sleep clinics or discuss their issues with healthcare staff, David’s autism means he’s unable to express how he’s feeling.

When David does settle down to try to sleep, he finds it very difficult. He can become quite upset and can attempt to harm himself. His family and carers have tried numerous approaches to relax him and encourage him to fall asleep peacefully but to no avail. It is hoped that biometrics will give added insight, revealing biological changes within David that may give clues about what’s causing his distress. Results of this pilot are not anticipated for several months.

David’s parents, Kim and Gerry Adamson believe that biometrics could be a way forward to help understand David’s sleep problems. More than that, they believe that biometrics represent a logical step forward in the care and understanding of people with severe autism who aren’t able to articulate for themselves how they are feeling and whose qualify of life suffers greatly as a result.