A new study suggests that children with autism need to be taught in smaller groups.
"Sensory integration dysfunction has long been speculated to be a core component of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but there has been precious little hard empirical evidence to support this notion," said Dr. John J. Foxe, Professor of Neuroscience at CCNY.
"Viewing a speaker's articulatory movements can greatly improve a listener's ability to understand spoken words, and this is especially the case under noisy environmental conditions," he added.
Foxe said that children with autism may become distressed in large classroom settings simply because they are unable to understand basic speech, if the environment is sufficiently noisy.
Multisensory speech system develops relatively slowly across the childhood years, and that considerable tuning of this system continues to occur even into early adolescence.
However, autistic kids lag almost 5 years behind typically developing children in this crucial multisensory ability.
Foxe said that further studies might result in advances in the understanding of ASD, and the communication abilities of individuals with autism by identifying the neural mechanisms that are at the root of these multisensory deficits.