In the present work, we have undertaken a proof-of-concept study to determine whether a simple upper-limb movement could be useful to accurately classify low-functioning children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) aged 2–4. To answer this question, we developed a supervised machine-learning method to correctly discriminate 15 preschool children with ASD from 15 typically developing children by means of kinematic analysis of a simple reach-to-drop task. Our method reached a maximum classification accuracy of 96.7 % with seven features related to the goal-oriented part of the movement. These preliminary findings offer insight into a possible motor signature of ASD that may be potentially useful in identifying a well-defined subset of patients, reducing the clinical heterogeneity within the broad behavioral phenotype.
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Machine learning
- Support vector machines
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology