|BREAKTHROUGH IN AUTISM:
ELECTRONIC SCREENING DEVICE
EFFECTIVE AS YOUNG AS 7 WEEKS OF AGE
The Autism E-Screening Device is a first-in-class project of Sovereign Research, LLC. It is
the product of many years of research and diligent cooperation between our doctors and
Measuring skin conductance as a means to assess emotional arousal is not a novel idea in
itself. In fact, skin conductance measurements have been the gold standard of neurology
research for over fifty years. The point being that changes in skin electrical activity represents
the resultant of all commands from the brain. These commands reflect the state of alertness in
the brain and are issued to keep the rest of the body in tandem with the degree of readiness the
brain sees appropriate at any given moment.
The brain gathers input about the prevailing level of threat from all the senses, interprets these
threats based on historic and instinctive standards; and then issues commands to the rest of
the body to recruit whatever faculties and resources are needed to meet this threat level.
Individuals who are highly sensitive to stress (including those on the autism spectrum)
generally respond more vigorously to stress than neurotypicals. Additionally, highly sensitive
individuals react to low level stressors that may not even provoke a response in neurotypicals.
All this may seem as a survival disadvantage for the highly sensitive since they are
overwhelmed regularly by mild irritants, chemical or behavioral. However, this continued
readiness allows highly sensitives to cope better with severe stress and crises in general, a
situation that stumps most neurotypicals.
This video demonstrates the accuracy of the Autism E-Screening device.
Our brilliant engineer, Sergey, tests the accuracy of the device against a standard
ohmmeter. The demo shows the device to be accurate to within a fraction of 1%.
Ohmmeter: a standard device that measures electrical resistance in kOhms
Skin conductance: electrical activity on the human skin, which changes in
correspondence to emotional arousal
Emotional arousal: different people respond differently to novelty and strain in
general. Highly sensitive individuals (including those on the autism spectrum)
respond more vigorously and intensely to stress. Neurotypicals respond less
intensely. However, individuals on the spectrum differ widely in how strong their
response is. This is where the Autism E-Screening device truly shines. It helps
quantitate the response to strain; and by doing that demonstrates the wide variation
in the degree of dysfunction you should expect from an individual's autistic
personality. The device also helps for follow up to document progress and/or the
response to specific therapies.
Electrodermal Testing – Provocative Skin Conductance Test
When it comes to the autistic personality, questionnaires seem to be abundantly available.
However due to all the bias and inaccuracy of questionnaires (see book pro-prologue) a more
objective method of screening is needed. In my search for a more scientific way that is less
operator or subject dependent, I came across skin sensitivity to sensory stimulation as a
biomarker of degree of reactivity to stress. Having known vaguely of electrodermal screening
machines, I was able to trace the validity of electrodermal screening in detecting skin
conductivity as an objective tool to screen for autism back to the seventies. The following
information is based on a time honored and scientifically validated research tool, which
neurologists, psychologists and other scientists have used for decades for a multitude of
An electrodermal screening machine can be successfully used to differentiate sensitive from
less sensitive children at any age. This test is not meant as a “diagnostic method” for the
sensitive personality. However, it serves as a preliminary screening tool to identify children
with higher innate sensitivity early on in order to focus attention of parents and involved
healthcare providers on the path ahead. The electrodermal skin conductance test is also
applicable to adults of all ages too. The skin conductance test is reliable as early as 4 months
of age and throughout life. Some may argue that the test is accurate as of 7 weeks of age
when neural connections begin to mature.
This test consists essentially of an electrode that is placed on dry skin. The electrode reads the
ease of conductance of electrons on the skin. The conductance naturally decreases during
quiescent times and increases within 1-4 seconds when a startling stressor is applied. In the
resting state, many autistic and neurotypical children may show similar conductance patterns.
Some autistic children, especially those on the far left of the spectrum do show increased
conductance even during quiescence. However, for the majority of sensitive children, applying
a momentary noise from a noisemaker at 80 decibels in an otherwise quiet room shows
excessive increase in conductance relative to less sensitive children. The choice of 80 decibels
specifically is obtained from decades of validation. For sensitive human subjects this is the
typical level of moderate stress where their reactivity to stress is most evident. Sensitive
children find this level most difficult to handle. Lower or higher decibels may obscure the
The test is not without pitfalls. It could show false positive results on moist skin. It could
show false negative results in a dehydrated person. In addition, it has to be done on a typical
day in a person’s life. Excessive stress in the few hours preceding the test can lead to
desensitization of the sweating mechanisms and may dampen conductance thereby giving false
negative results. Finally, it goes without saying that the test should be administered in a quiet
room free of electronic and other electromagnetic interferences. Ideally, the healer, child and
mother along with an examining table should be the only occupants of the room. Lastly,
choosing a different decibel value than 80 may also give false negative results.
In the presence of mild to moderate stress of a familiar nature, sensitive people thrive
naturally, but are not necessarily at their best mindful and intellectual potential. Familiar
problems and challenges command only a modest use of faculties necessary to tackle minor
challenges. On the other hand, minor challenges of an unfamiliar nature may induce significant
stress that leads to overstimulation. Novelty remains a challenge for sensitive people
throughout life. Faced with unfamiliar mild to moderate stress, the average insensitive person
sounds like they are in better control of the situation compared to the average sensitive person,
and they will have an easier time adapting to the change.
Faced with a more extreme magnitude of stress, however, such as public speaking, getting a
new CEO, or falling under enemy fire, the average insensitive person freezes for prolonged
periods. They suddenly turn from a person in complete control and perfect composure to
someone who cannot move one leg in front of the other. This is what psychologists call
‘choking under pressure’. In such extreme situations, the average sensitive person gains
clarity of mind and immediacy of appropriate action that few insensitive people are capable of
achieving over a lifetime.
These are my findings about this behavioral hyperbole nature has placed in our laps.
Insensitive people can be competent warriors who instinctively know how to manage
themselves during moderate danger. Sensitive people are those entrusted with preservation of
the species through making wise moves in extremely dangerous times. In a way, this is the
role of the queen bee in its interaction with the worker bees, one of many examples found in
nature for differential role assignment within a species. Many other species show the same
differential between a majority capable of being mindlessly active and providing in regular
times, and a minority that is more deliberate and less active, but possesses the wisdom of
thought, quiet resolve and the swift action necessary to preserve the species in highly
This is the biological premise of the Autism E-Screening Device. The device employs skin
sensors to collect data about changes in electrical activity. These changes directly reflect the
level of perceived threat as interpreted by the brain. The Autism E-Screening Device is
effective as of 7 weeks of age and for the rest of one's life. It cannot be used at an age
younger than 7 weeks since the nerve endings in the skin take that long to develop and give
meaningful electrical output.
There are several ways the E-Screening device can assist in
1- Baseline: measuring skin conductance in a rested, unchallenged and pleasant environment
can tell us so much about the perceived level of threat. The higher the skin conductance value
at rest, the more likely that the person is on the spectrum. Higher values also indicate how far
to the left this person is on the spectrum. For a visual understanding of the spectrum please
refer to the graph below.
2- Challenge test: With the use of an activated tuning fork placed to the person's ear for a
few seconds, skin conductance test is repeated. The activated tuning fork represents a mild
irritant which usually provokes a vigorous response in individuals on the spectrum. The tuning
fork usually evokes only a mild response if any in neurotypical individuals. Note: if you will be
testing a hearing-impaired individual, please contact Sovereign Research for further
3- Follow-up: After initial screening, treatments, therapies and behavioral conditioning typically
follow. The Autism E-Screening Device can be used as a means to objectively and
quantitatively assess the usefulness and effectiveness of any such treatments. Successful
treatments should result in a decline in skin conductance values for both baseline and challenge
4- Home monitoring: This maybe the most valuable use of the Autism E-Screening Device.
Continuous monitoring can be used by parents wanting to assess their sensitive child's state of
mind and learn the triggers they need to manage, avoid or use measured steps to expose their
child to. Connecting the device to a home computer (or in the near future mobile device) one
can objectively assess their own emotional arousal and learn to take measure to calm
themselves down when they are threatened. You see skin conductance represents the brain's
interpretation of perceived threat which sometimes may not be commensurate with one's
immediate needs for survival. Being able to gain insight into our perceived threat level helps
individuals pierce the sources of their anxieties and take measures to resolve, avoid or cope
with these sources of anguish.