home
RSS
Vision, sound don't sync for some kids with autism, study suggests
January 14th, 2014
05:11 PM ET

Vision, sound don't sync for some kids with autism, study suggests

Watching a TV show where the words coming out of the actor's mouth are not synched with his lips can be very distracting.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University, in a study published Tuesday in The Journal of Neuroscience, suggest this is something some children with autism experience all the time, because they cannot simultaneously process what their eyes are seeing and their ears are hearing.

People with an autism spectrum disorder can have significant communication difficulties and exhibit repetitive patterns of behavior and social challenges. The American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the bible of all diagnostic criteria of mental disorders, says people with autism spectrum disorder "have communication deficits, such as responding inappropriately in conversations" (among other symptoms). Their new DSM 5 criteria fold symptoms of the disorders into two broad categories: Impaired social communication and restricted or repetitive patterns and behaviors.

The study
Researchers wanted to know how well children with autism process what they hear and see. They studied 32 high-functioning children with autism and 32 typically developing children, who were similar in almost every way including IQ (with the exception of the autism). All were between the ages of 6 and 18.
The children sat in front of a video screen and were listening for and looking for simple stimuli like beeps and flashes and more complex stimuli, like a hammer hitting a nail or verbal cues. The study participants were asked to press buttons when the visual and audible stimuli were happening at the same time.

The results
Children with autism had a longer window of time within which they combined sights and sounds, says lead study author Mark Wallace, director of Vanderbilt's University's Brain Institute. It took about twice as long for them to connect the dots, compared to typically developing children.

"If you drop a pen in front of me, the visual and auditory signals are happening at the same approximate time," explains Wallace. But in children with autism, it takes about twice as long for both of these signals to connect. "There's a longer window of time within which they are binding sights and sounds."

So one can imagine that if a typically developing child and a child with autism are listening to the same person speaking to them at the same time, they are not both getting the same message because the child with autism is taking longer to make the connections. That could contribute to language problems.

The study suggests that "impairments in low-level temporal sensory processing of audio and visual signals could play a role in speech perception in children with ASD."

"If we think about language and social interactions, they are completely dependent on senses communicating," says Wallace.

However, limited previous research has not been conclusive, says Marlene Behrmann, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the research. She says one earlier study suggests that visual and hearing signals sync up when children reach adolescence.

Caveats

"This is a good article," says Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist and autism expert at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, who also was not involved in the research. But he suggests the study would reveal more if researchers had included a group of children with developmental language disorders, in addition to the typically developed children and those with autism. This would help researchers understand if the sensory problems are due to autism or a co-existing developmental language disorder.

Wiznitzer suggests that "a conservative interpretation of this study is, that the identified dysfunction can aggravate the core features of autism by having the potential to worsen communication ability." He adds that a lot more research needs to be done to show if not being able to properly connect audio and visual cues just aggravates language problems in children with autism, or if this problem of processing multiple senses at the time is a "is a contributing factor to the core deficits of autism."

Takeaway

Behrmann is excited about this research because she believes, if validated, it suggests the earlier in development children with autism receive therapy, the better they can sync up sights and sounds. That it might provide a "chance of off-setting some of the more complex behaviors later in life," she says.

That's one of the areas Wallace aims to explore. "Can we train these children to do better in binding sights and sounds? Can we (then) improve their language and social skills?" His ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life of children with autism.

What also needs to be studied, says Wiznitzer, is if interventions to retrain the brain to more quickly bridge the gap between what is heard and said will impact the autism in a positive way.

Dr. Michael Morrier, assistant director of the Emory Autism Center in Atlanta, suggests that contrary to popular belief that children with autism are "visual" learners, this study shows some children with autism are auditory learners, which in turn provides another clue as to how to help children with autism.


soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Melani Paongo

    I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/01/tupolev-moving-forward-with-new-tu-204sm/

    http://www.doc-txt.com/Boeing-Everett-Museum.pdf

    May 22, 2021 at 03:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Marshall Opher

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2005/12/tis-season-for-ipods-not-everyone-is.html

    May 23, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. tausAffessy

    what is tadalafil buy cialis pills cialis without prescription https://tadacipetadalafil.com/

    May 23, 2021 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. cyclosporine

    buy cyclomune uk buy cyclomune

    May 24, 2021 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. tausAffessy

    https://cttadalafil.com/ generic cialis online fast shipping prescription tadalafil online tadalafil tadalafil order online no prescription

    May 24, 2021 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. tausAffessy

    cialis cost https://cttadalafil.com/ – cost tadalafil generic cialis at canadian pharmacy cialis without prescription https://tadalafilww.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Soosteemocush

    https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ where to order tadalafil tablets https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – tadalafil side effects tadalafil liquid

    May 26, 2021 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. tausAffessy

    https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ lowest price cialis https://tadalafilww.com/ – lowest price cialis where to get tadalafil

    May 26, 2021 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Bob Bugbee

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://adolit.blogspot.com/2007/10/wow-more-youtube-academic-literacy.html

    May 28, 2021 at 06:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Dann Sparkman

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://adolit.blogspot.com/2009/11/plurality-of-pedagogical-postures.html

    May 29, 2021 at 06:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 먹튀사이트

    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure
    of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with
    it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    May 29, 2021 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Bill Stanzione

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

    http://rumblingstrips.blogspot.com/2010/05/

    May 30, 2021 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dee Schmand

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2003/12/book-reviews-what-video-games-have-to.html?m=0

    May 31, 2021 at 06:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Clyde Rafail

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 1, 2021 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Clyde Kelln

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life articles and blogs

    http://e-bookinbiblioteca.blogspot.com/2011/11/

    June 3, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 온라인카지노

    For newest news you have to pay a visit web and on world-wide-web I found
    this web page as a best web site for newest updates.

    June 4, 2021 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Zachery Godfray

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 6, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Florentino Foecking

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 7, 2021 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Kasey Antaya

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 11, 2021 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Cesar Bennard

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

    http://lostbiro.com/blog/?page_i&paged=29

    June 12, 2021 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Solange Besio

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2004/12/keep-it-clean-people-keep-asking-me.html?m=0

    June 12, 2021 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Woodrow Bickel

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2009/04/it-all-started-with-biro.html?m=0

    June 12, 2021 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Gussie Sortino

    I don't know about you guys but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/11/will-you-boycott-the-body-scanners-tomorrow/

    http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163872

    June 13, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Cynthia Evon

    I don't know about you guys but I am obsessed with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/11/video-american-airlines-commercial-1972-introducing-the-luxury-liner-fleet/

    http://privatejetstoday.blogspot.com/2010/08/private-jet-flight-attendant-jobs.html

    June 13, 2021 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Eugene Pichette

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/05/first-airbus-build-in-china-has-successful-trial-flight/

    http://lostbiro.com/blog/?paged=48

    June 13, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Laurel Noullet

    I don't know about you all but I love airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/03/ten-interesting-facts-about-the-rolls-royce-trent-1000-engines-used-on-the-boeing-787-dreamliner/

    http://adolit.blogspot.com/2005/04/chocolate-chip-pedagogy.html

    June 13, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Dario Zent

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs

    http://omgtdrs.blogspot.com/2012/02/

    June 15, 2021 at 07:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Lavona Kirkby

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2007/03/watching-social-networks.html?m=0

    June 21, 2021 at 20:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. fb88viet.net

    Great blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I'm planning to start my own blog soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
    There are so many choices out there that I'm totally overwhelmed ..
    Any tips? Thanks a lot!

    June 27, 2021 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. khuyến mãi fb88

    This is the perfect site for everyone who hopes to understand
    this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want
    to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject which has been written about for ages.

    Great stuff, just wonderful!

    June 28, 2021 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.