Open access article: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8875834/ )
The automatic emotion recognition domain brings new methods and technologies that might be used to enhance therapy of children with autism. The paper aims at the exploration of methods and tools used to recognize emotions in children. It presents a literature review study that was performed using a systematic approach and PRISMA methodology for reporting quantitative and qualitative results. Diverse observation channels and modalities are used in the analyzed studies, including facial expressions, prosody of speech, and physiological signals. Regarding representation models, the basic emotions are the most frequently recognized, especially happiness, fear, and sadness. Both single-channel and multichannel approaches are applied, with a preference for the first one. For multimodal recognition, early fusion was the most frequently applied. SVM and neural networks were the most popular for building classifiers. Qualitative analysis revealed important clues on participant group construction and the most common combinations of modalities and methods. All channels are reported to be prone to some disturbance, and as a result, information on a specific symptoms of emotions might be temporarily or permanently unavailable. The challenges of proper stimuli, labelling methods, and the creation of open datasets were also identified.
Keywords: affective computing; autism; autism spectrum disorder; emotion recognition; systematic literature review.
Citation: Landowska A, Karpus A, Zawadzka T, Robins B, Erol Barkana D, Kose H, Zorcec T, Cummins N. Automatic Emotion Recognition in Children with Autism: A Systematic Literature Review. Sensors. 2022; 22(4):1649. https://doi.org/10.3390/s22041649
Background: Both chronic and acute exercise interventions have reported positive effects on executive functions (EFs) in general populations. However, data on changes in EFs in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in response to exercise interventions are still unclear.
Objective: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to synthesize available empirical studies concerning the effects of exercise interventions on EFs in children and adolescents with ASD.
Methods: In accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analyses guidelines, the electronic databases CINAHL Complete (via EBSCOhost), SPORTDiscus with Full Text (via EBSCOhost), MEDLINE (via EBSCOhost), Web of Science, ProQuest, and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC; via EBSCOhost) were searched from inception to January 2021. Two authors independently extracted data and conducted a risk-of-bias analysis using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. Randomized controlled trials/quasi-experimental designs that used acute or chronic exercise interventions and assessed EFs through neurocognitive tasks or questionnaires among children and adolescents with ASD were included. In total, 259 articles were identified, of which 15 full texts were independently assessed for eligibility by two authors. In total, 14 articles underwent systematic review, and seven were selected for meta-analysis.
Results: Overall, chronic exercise interventions had a small to moderate positive effect on overall EFs in children and adolescents with ASD (g = 0.342; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.084-0.600; p < 0.01). Regarding domain-specific EFs, chronic exercise interventions had a small to moderate positive effect on cognitive flexibility (g = 0.312; 95% CI 0.053-0.570; p < 0.01) and inhibitory control (g = 0.492; 95% CI 0.188-0.796; p < 0.01). However, our review found a non-significant effect size (g = 0.212; 95% CI - 0.088 to 0.512) on working memory.
Conclusions: Chronic exercise interventions appear to have beneficial effects on overall EFs in children and adolescents with ASD, particularly in relation to cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control.
Citation: Liang X, Li R, Wong SHS, Sum RKW, Wang P, Yang B, Sit CHP. The Effects of Exercise Interventions on Executive Functions in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2022 Jan;52(1):75-88. doi: 10.1007/s40279-021-01545-3. Epub 2021 Sep 1. PMID: 34468951.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can experience difficulties functioning in society due to social communication deficits and restrictive and repetitive behaviors. Music therapy has been suggested as a potential intervention used to improve these deficits in ASD. The current systematic literature review focuses on two methods of music therapy: improvisational music therapy (IMT) and singing/listening to songs. We review the extant literature and the associated methodological limitations, and we propose a framework to assess the effectiveness of music therapy as an intervention in ASD. We suggest the creation of a standardized framework that should utilize neuroimaging tools as an objective marker of changes induced by music therapy as well as a combination of functional and behaviourial outputs, rather than assessment methods addressing a broad range of functional and behavioural outputs, rather than only the main symptoms. The methodological limitations found in the current literature prevent us from making a strong statement about the effects of music therapy in autism. We consider treatment fidelity assessments as the key to successful future attempts to truly understand music therapy effects in ASD.
Citation: Music Therapy in Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Systematic Review, (2022). Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, volume 9, pages91–107. Amparo V. Marquez-Garcia, Justine Magnuson, James Morris, Grace Iarocci, Sam Doesburg & Sylvain Moreno
The breadth of available non-pharmacological interventions for autistic children, with varying evidence for efficacy summarised in multiple systematic reviews, creates challenges for parents, practitioners, and policymakers in navigating the research evidence. In this article, we report the findings of an umbrella review of 58 systematic reviews of non-pharmacological interventions for autistic children (aged 0–12 years). Positive therapeutic effects were identified for Behavioural interventions, Developmental interventions, Naturalistic Developmental Behavioural Interventions, Technology-based interventions, and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy across several child and family outcomes. Positive effects for certain practices within Sensory-based interventions and ‘other’ interventions were limited to select child and family outcomes. Both inconsistent and null intervention effects were found for Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped Children, and Animal-assisted interventions across outcomes. The possible influence of child (chronological age, core autism characteristics, and related skills) and delivery (agent, mode, format, and amount) characteristics on intervention effects was rarely examined, and inconsistent where reported. Twenty-seven systematic reviews (47%) were rated as ‘high’ quality. Few systematic reviews examined children’s participation and quality of life or adverse effects. The findings highlight the need for individualised evidence-based decision-making when selecting interventions for autistic children.
What is already known about the topic?
The delivery of evidence-based interventions is an important part of the clinical pathway for many autistic children and their families. However, parents, practitioners, and policymakers face challenges making evidence informed decisions, due to the wide variety of interventions available and the large, and often inconsistent, body of evidence regarding their effectiveness.
What this paper adds?
This is a comprehensive umbrella review, also known as a ‘review of reviews’, which examined the range of interventions available, the evidence for their effectiveness, and whether effects were influenced by factors relating to individual children (e.g. chronological age, core autism characteristics, and related skills) or the ways interventions were delivered (by whom and in what setting, format, mode, and amount). There was evidence for positive therapeutic effects for some, but not all, interventions. No single intervention had a positive effect for all child and family outcomes of interest. The influence of child and delivery characteristics on effects was unclear.
Implications for practice, research, and policy
The findings provide parents, practitioners, and policymakers with a synthesis of the research evidence to inform decision-making and highlight the importance of individualised approaches in the absence of clear and consistent evidence. The findings also highlight the need to improve consistency and completeness in reporting of research studies, so that the same questions may be answered more comprehensively in the future.
Citation: David Trembath, Kandice Varcin, Andrew Whitehouse, (2022). Non-pharmacological interventions for autistic children: An umbrella review. Autism, Volume 27, Issue 2. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613221119368