The Autism Center of Excellence addresses the question of why some children with Autism do not acquire spoken language. Our main studies for children and adolescents investigate behavioral and brain systems related to speech production and sound processing using EEG and MRI. We are testing a novel behavioral treatment for promoting speech in non verbal children that has shown promise in prior work.
Children and adolescents with autism enjoy working with tablets, including apps designed to increase language and cognitive skills. But no large-scale studies have yet been done to evaluate whether apps do lead to changes. This project explores whether two educational apps lead to improvements in language skills that will be evaluated using novel measures that we are developing. We expect that the language measures will be important for future interventions research on autism.
The Brain Imaging Language Development project uses fMRI to examine how the brain processes language. We are interested in whether children with autism use different brain pathways for language, and how they compare to children with other language based learning disorders and typically developing children.
The Infant Sibling Project aims to identify risk markers for autism or language delays that may be present during the first year of life. Identifying high risk infants at this early stage would allow for early intervention to begin much sooner than is currently possible, greatly increasing the potential for such treatments to have lasting positive impacts.
The Child Auditory Processing Study uses EEG to investigate the brain systems underlying speech and sound processing. We are interested in how children with autism and their typically developing peers use auditory and visual cues to understand language.
The Deaf Autism Project is the world’s largest study on autism in deaf children learning sign language. We hope that our study will lead to better treatment options for deaf children as well as a better understanding of how autism affects learning in both deaf and hearing children.