How technology can make life easier for neurodiverse people
While the exact reason as to what causes autism or how it can be prevented is not fully known yet, what we do know is that globally, 1 in 100 children has autism. In India alone, it is estimated that approximately 18 million people are living with autism, and these numbers are only going to rise. There is no doubt that measures need to be taken to make healthcare more inclusive towards people with ASD. April is observed as World Autism Month with a view to raise awareness about ASD and empower the autism community. An important conversation in this regard is the role of technology as a beacon of hope, giving neurodiverse people the opportunity to achieve their best possible health. Innovations in MedTech have immense potential and could be life-changing in the care of neurodivergent people.
An example of this is remote monitoring devices that keep track of crucial health markers, and provide actionable insights about your cardiac health, not just to you, but also to your caregivers and healthcare providers, in real time. This technology can significantly reduce the need for frequent doctors’ consultations, hospital visits and social interaction, while keeping you connected with your healthcare providers and ensuring your safety— your doctor is alerted to any change in your data that may require intervention and can step in for timely intervention, only if and when needed.
Similarly, biowearables can improve the management of a condition like diabetes, which requires regular glucose monitoring. People with autism, who also have diabetes, are often averse to social touch and may view physical contact negatively. A sensor-based continuous glucose monitoring system that captures your health data painlessly and maps your glucose trends through the day and night, without needing a physical examination, laboratory test or social contact with a healthcare provider, can simplify life for people with ASD and bring immense relief to caregivers.
Managing a chronic health condition while living with a developmental disability can be an overwhelming experience. The evolution of health technology seeks to make healthcare not only more accessible, but also more inclusive, for people with atypical conditions and unique health needs. Technology stands as an effective interpreter in scenarios that pose barriers in communication, thus helping to alleviate, if not resolve, many of the issues encountered in the care of people with ASD. Health innovations are giving us a more intuitive understanding of our bodies, in a way that can empower neurodiverse individuals, too, to embark on a positive health journey.