Sunday, February 16, 2014

Vision, Sound Don't Sync For Some Kids with Autism, Study Suggests

News Brief by Avneet Soin

A recent study conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University has shed some light on the communication issues experienced by some children with autism. People with autism spectrum disorder tend to experience difficulty with responding at the appropriate moments during conversations, as well as other social issues. The study focused on 64 children between the ages of 6 and 18: 32 had autism and were considered ‘high-functioning,’ and another 32 were typically developing children. All the participants were asked to identify when visible stimuli, such as flashes or images, were visible simultaneously with audible stimuli, such as beeps or verbal cues.

It was found that the children with autism took about twice as long to connect a visual cue with its corresponding audible cue in comparison to the children without autism. For example, if a child with autism dropped a heavy book on the ground, the sound of the book hitting the floor would not be in sync with the visual. In this context, it makes sense that children with autism tend to respond inappropriately during conversations or have social difficulties. However, the study does not address children who have developmental language disorders, so it is not clear whether this lack of synchronization is due to a language disorder that co-exists with autism, or is simply a characteristic of autism alone. Researchers hope to focus future studies on measuring if early therapy might help children with autism who experience sensory issues, and if ‘retraining the brain’ to connect images and sound will positively impact autism.

Falco, Miriam. "Vision, Sound Don't Sync for Some Kids with Autism, Study Suggests." The Chart. CNN, 14 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.
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