Development of Early Markers of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Short Title

The Institute for the Study of Child Development (ISCD), Rutgers University

Project Description

Inter-sensory integration in under two year olds will be used as an early marker of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

While pediatricians know that early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can vastly improve clinical outcomes, presently there are few tests available that can measure ASD symptoms in children under two. We propose studying how problems integrating different senses, such as such as sight, sound, and touch, can be used to identify infants¶ with ASD. Typically developing (TD) infants as young as 3 months old experience information from different senses as a single experience, such as integrating lip movements and speech. Research suggests that this may not be true of children with ASD. Problems in inter-sensory integration may, in fact, be at the core of ASD symptoms such as communication difficulties, sensory disturbances, problems making eye contact and lack of emotional reciprocity.

Infants abilities to integrate inter-sensory information will be measured using well-established procedures that have been used successfully with TD infants and children with ASD. Infants will engage in 4 different inter-sensory tasks: (1) Oral and visual integration; (2) Sounds that objects make and visual integration; (3) Verbal sounds and visual integration; and (4) Speech and lip movement integration.

Parents will be with their infant at all times. Our videos are designed to be fun for your child and we are simply looking for his/her natural reactions.


Selection Criteria

Infants and toddlers between the ages of 3 months and 24 months
  • typically developing or
  • at-risk (older sibling diagnosed with ASD)




What's Involved

One session: 30 minutes. Babies will watch expressions, listen to sounds

Compensation

Families can see how the infants respond; no monetary compensation
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Team Members

Michael Lewis
Principal Investigator
lewis@rwjms.rutgers.edu

Nicholas Minar
Co-Investigator
nm745@rwjms.rutgers.edu
732-235-7906

Mayra Paredes-Aguirre
Research Assistant
paredema@rwjms.rutgers.edu
(732) 235-7906

Stacey Napoli
Research Assistant
napolisl@rwjms.rutgers.edu
(732) 235-7700

Contact Info

lewis@rwjms.rutgers.edu
(732) 235-7700
89 French Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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