It can be tragically difficult to help adolescents with severe autism when they are unable to communicate when they are experience increased stress. We’ve written about Cognoa, an app designed to diagnose autism. We also noted the progress in Stanford’s Glass Project in engaging children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) via augmented reality.

University of Missouri assistant research professor Bradley Ferguson discovered a correlation between rising sweat levels and aggressiveness or other behavior problems with autistic adolescents. Ferguson measured and analyzed the stress levels of eight adolescents severely affected by ASD. The youngsters wore wrist and ankle electrodermal activity sensors. Increased electrodermal activity from sweat occurred 60% of the time prior to the subjects having behavioral issues.

Severely autistic people often cannot communicate effectively when they are anxious or bothered, whether the source of stress is external or internal. According to Ferguson, parents or caregivers could have a better chance to help defuse stressful situations prior to problem behavior outbreaks if they could receive an early warning about rising stress levels.