Saturday, May 17, 2008
Champagne Terrace/Bordeaux (Novotel London West)
Background: Bebko and colleagues (2006) suggest that deficits in intermodal processing (IMP) may be related to some of the language impairments that characterize autism. The McGurk effect is an illusion that demonstrates how we integrate what is seen and what is heard during speech. The McGurk effect involves visually presenting a face saying a sound that is synchronous with but different from a sound presented auditorily. Most typically developing individuals integrate the mismatched stimuli and report hearing a sound that was never presented. This illusion requires IMP of the auditory and visual components of the linguistic stimuli. Weiss and Bebko (submitted) found that children with autism were significantly less likely to show the McGurk effect relative to typically developing children and a cognitively impaired control group, suggesting that children with autism may have difficulty with IMP of speech information. The current study aims to extend this research by exploring these processes in individuals with Asperger syndrome (AS) and high-functioning autism (HFA).
Objectives: To determine whether impairments in IMP of speech are related to autism in general, or if they are related specifically to the developmental language delays and difficulties in current language that characterize autism.
Methods: Twenty children (6-16 years) with AS/HFA are compared to typically developing children and individuals with classic autism.
Results: We report data with AS/HFA which is currently being collected, compared to the performance of typically developing individuals and those with lower-functioning autism (data collection completed). Initial analyses indicate that only the lower functioning children with autism report less of a McGurk effect (i.e. less IMP) than the other two groups.
Conclusions: This research will help to determine how individuals with AS and HFA integrate what they see and what they hear relative to individuals with lower-functioning autism and typically developing peers.