New Study Funded in Part by Simons Foundation Study Hopes to Predict Autism Behaviors
What if everyone knew what was coming?
That is the question staff and researchers at Westbrook’s Spring Harbor Hospital, the Maine Medical Center Research Institute and Maine Behavioral Healthcare hope to answer about caring for people with severe autism.
The Simons Foundation of New York, and the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation of Wellesley, Massachusetts, provided a $3.1 million grant to fund the research.
“If it works out, this could be a big step for the field because it is a truly different way of coming at what is a big problem,” Dr. Matthew Siegel of MMCRI said recently.
Siegel, who is also a MBH vice president, is directing a three-year study on whether biosensors can alert of impending “challenging behaviors” in children and adolescents with autism.
“I’ve seen people where you did not know it was coming, and these are big, serious behaviors; people can get hurt,” she said.
O’Donovan’s son Ryan, 22, was diagnosed with autism at age 2. As a child, he skied, went swimming, rode bicycles and went on family vacations.
“His world was pretty big until his freshman year in high school and then he could not keep it together as much,” she said. “Now his world is pretty small.”
O’Donovan said she and her husband, Tim, are impressed by Siegel’s dedication to Ryan and other patients.
“We are very grateful we met him,” she said...