Published in Nature Science Reports: An mCARE study on patterns of risk and resilience for children with ASD in Bangladesh

Dr. Ahamed and members of the Ubicomp lab published a report in Nature Scientific Reports on An mCARE study on patterns of risk and resilience for children with ASD in Bangladesh in the November issue. Community-wide lockdowns in response to COVID-19 infuenced many families, but the developmental cascade for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be especially detrimental. Our objective was to evaluate behavioral patterns of risk and resilience for children with ASD across parent-report assessments before (from November 2019 to February 2020), during (March 2020 to May 2020), and after (June 2020 to November 2020) an extended COVID-19 lockdown. In 2020, our study Mobile-based care for children with ASD using remote experience sampling method (mCARE) was inactive data collection before COVID-19 emerged as a health crisis in Bangladesh. Here we deployed “Cohort Studies”, where we had in total 300 children with ASD (150 test group and 150 control group) to collect behavioral data. Our data collection continued through an extended COVID19 lockdown and captured parent reports of 30 diferent behavioral parameters (e.g., self-injurious behaviors, aggression, sleep problems, daily living skills, and communication) across 150 children with ASD (test group). Based on the children’s condition, 4–6 behavioral parameters were assessed through the study. A total of 56,290 behavioral data points was collected (an average of 152.19 per week) from parent cell phones using the mCARE platform. Children and their families were exposed to an extended COVID-19 lockdown. The main outcomes used for this study were generated from parent reports child behaviors within the mCARE platform. Behaviors included of child social skills, communication use, problematic behaviors, sensory sensitivities, daily living, and play. COVID-19 lockdowns for children with autism and their families are not universally negative but supports in the areas of “Problematic Behavior” could serve to mitigate future risk.