Thursday, May 20, 2010
Franklin Hall B Level 4 (Philadelphia Marriott Downtown)
Background: The prevalence of sensory processing disorders in children with autism ranges from 69% to 95%. Sensory processing disorders manifest themselves as auditory under-responsiveness and restrictive and repetitive behaviors and are thought to contribute to the functional limitations experienced by children with autism. Behaviors related to sensory processing difficulties can be detected prior to diagnosis. . Retrospective videotape analysis suggests that infants later diagnosed with autism exhibit auditory under- and over-responsiveness, delayed response to name, excessive mouthing of objects and unstable visual orientation/attention more often than typically developing children or children with developmental delays. Several of these studies report that sensorimotor and social development features can be used to distinguish infants later diagnosed with autism from neurotypical and developmentally delayed infants. Further, early identification and treatment of sensory processing deficits in infants at-risk of autism may promote more typical developmental patterns thereby reducing the severity of core autism symptoms. Currently, identification of sensory processing disorders in infants is reliant on imprecise proxy-report measures. There is limited neurophysiologic research available regarding sensory processing of children with autism and no studies that link behavior to neurophysiologic findings.
Objectives: This paper will describe sensory processing function using a multi-modal assessment protocol in infants with and without known risk factors for autism in the first year of life. Performance of infants on neurophysiologic measures will be further compared with parent reports and clinical observations of sensory processing.
Methods: A total of 30 infants (4, 8, and 12 months of age) with and without risk factors for autism will be recruited to this preliminary cross-sectional study. Inclusion criteria: infants with no known risk factors for autism, infant siblings of a child with an autism spectrum disorder, and infants born prematurely. Participants will attend a single study visit at the Cognitive Development Lab at The Ohio State University. Participants will be administered the Autism Detection for Early Childhood and Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition to establish early signs of autism and developmental status. Sensory processing function will be evaluated using: the Sensory Processing Assessment for Young children, the Infant/Toddler Sensory Profile, the Test of Sensory Function in Infants, Event Related Potentials(ERP), and Heart Rate(HR). A mismatch negativity(MMN) protocol will be implemented with ERP and HR. MMN is a pre-attentive measure of sensory processing elicited by a speech or non-speech sound. Data analyses will describe sensory processing function in infants by age group and risk factor status. It is hypothesized that infants with known risk factors for autism will exhibit attenuated responsiveness to speech sounds.
Results: We are currently collecting data.
This study will address a significant gap in scientific research specific to sensory processing in infants at-risk for autism. Utilizing a multi-modal assessment protocol including standard clinical instruments in addition to neurophysiologic measurements, this study will be the first to provide a comprehensive description of sensory processing function within the first year of life.