Navigation Links
Autistic children can outgrow difficulty understanding visual cues and sounds
Date:8/28/2013

BRONX, NY -- Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have shown that high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children appear to outgrow a critical social communication disability. Younger children with ASD have trouble integrating the auditory and visual cues associated with speech, but the researchers found that the problem clears up in adolescence. The study was published today in the online edition of the journal Cerebral Cortex.

"This is an extremely hopeful finding," said lead author John Foxe, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, as well as director of research of the Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at Einstein. "It suggests that the neurophysiological circuits for speech in these children aren't fundamentally broken and that we might be able to do something to help them recover sooner."

According to Dr. Foxe, the ability to integrate "heard" and "seen" speech signals is crucial to effective communication. "Children who don't appropriately develop this capacity have trouble navigating educational and social settings," he said.

In a previous study, Dr. Foxe and his colleagues demonstrated that children with ASD integrate multisensory information such as sound, touch and vision differently from typically developing children. Among typically developing children, multisensory integration (MSI) abilities were known to continue improving late into childhood. The current study looked at whether one aspect of MSI -- integrating audio and visual speech signals -- continues to develop in high-functioning children with ASD as well.

In the study, 222 children ages 5 to 17, including both typically developing children and high-functioning children with ASD, were tested for how well they could understand speech with increasing levels of background noise. In one test, the researchers played audio recordings of simple words. In a second test, the researchers played a video of the speaker articulating the words, but no audio. A third test presented the children with both the audio and video recordings.

The test mimics the so-called "cocktail party" effect: a noisy environment with many different people talking. In such settings, people naturally rely on both auditory and facial clues to understand what another person is saying. "You get a surprisingly big boost out of lip-reading, compared with hearing alone," said Dr. Foxe. "It's an integrative process."

In the first test (audio alone), the children with ASD performed almost as well as typically developing children across all age groups and all background noise levels. In the second test (video alone), the children with ASD performed significantly worse than the typically developing children across all age groups and all background noise levels. "But the typically developing children didn't perform very well, either," said Dr. Foxe. "Most people are fairly terrible at lip-reading."

In the third test (audio and video), the younger children with ASD, ages 6 to 12, performed much worse than the typically developing children of the same age, particularly at higher levels of background noise. However, among the older children, there was no difference in performance between the typically developing and children with ASD.

"In adolescence, something amazing happens and the kids with ASD begin to perform like the typically developing kids," said Dr. Foxe. "At this point, we can't explain why. It may be a function of a physiological change in their brain or of interventions they've received, or both. That is something we need to explore."

The researchers acknowledge some limitations to their study. "Instead of doing a cross-sectional study like this, where we tested children at various ages, we would prefer to do a longitudinal study that would involve the same kids who'd be followed over the years from childhood through adolescence," Dr. Foxe said. "We also need to find a way to study what is happening with low- and mid-functioning children with ASD. They are much less tolerant of testing and thus harder to study."

According to the researchers, the work highlights the need to develop more effective therapies to help ASD children better integrate audio and visual speech signals. "We are beginning to work on that," said Dr. Foxe.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kim Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Autistic kids who best peers at math show different brain organization, Stanford/Packard study shows
2. “Mentally Retarded” Autistic Mute Breaks Her Silence, Joins Forces with Her Psychologist and Friend to Write Life Affirming Memoir on Living with Autism
3. Autistic children may be at greater risk of suicide ideation and attempts
4. 424 Design: Design With a Cause - Design for Autistic Children
5. Neuroscientists find excessive protein synthesis linked to autistic-like behaviors
6. A promising clinical trial to reduce the severity of autistic disorders
7. Autistic adults report significant shortcomings in their health care
8. Teaching autistic teens to cope
9. Battling the Bullying of an Autistic Child
10. Experimental Drug Eases Autistic Behaviors in Mice
11. St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital scientists identify ALS disease mechanism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... 29, 2017 , ... Dr. Angela Cotey, a noted general dentist in Mt. ... patients, with or without a referral. Dr. Cotey knows that interceptive orthodontics ... experience. When patients receive early treatment, they may achieve straight teeth with less treatment ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... 2017 , ... An inventor from Raynham, Mass., knows the ... conjunction with my braces always rubbed against the inside of my cheeks, causing ... problem." The O.B.S. was the result of his brainstorming. , This patent-pending invention ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... , ... March 29, 2017 ... ... and South Hills of Pittsburgh now have easier access to the robotic-assisted ... by Allegheny Health Network (AHN). Orthopaedic surgeons at Forbes Hospital and Jefferson ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... A recent Bellwether Education ... quality, the field must first improve teacher preparation program design. It then asserts ... and that decades of input- and outcome-based research has failed to improve teacher ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... Resoundant, ... be invited to the Siemens Healthineers annual customer education symposium, a world-class learning ... take place from March 27 - 31, 2017 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... (dupilumab) injection to treat adults with moderate-to-severe eczema ... eczema is not controlled adequately by topical therapies, ... advisable. Dupixent can be used with or without ... demonstrates our commitment to approving new and innovative ...
(Date:3/28/2017)...  "US Cancer Generics Market Outlook 2022" report ... trend analysis related to the emergence and integration ... in US. The report analyzes various clinical and ... generics drugs in recent years. The introduction of ... dollars for various stake holders involved US cancer ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... , Va. and PHOENIX , March 28, ... Avella Specialty Pharmacy released a new white ... allergies and the use of latex in healthcare. Specifically, there ... in healthcare. In fact, the FDA has urged manufacturers to ... latex" claim from labels, because of the challenge to ensure ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: