We may now have a little more insight as to what may be a cause of speech and language difficulties often seen with those who have autism. As researchers from the Vanderbilt Brain Institute have discovered, as covered here, for children with autism, sight and sound may be separated because their brains have trouble linking what they see with what they hear. The effect is described as if you are watching a foreign movie that was badly dubbed – the auditory doesn’t match up with the visual.
This processing “lag time” could explain why learning language can be difficult. As the article explains, if a parent points at a dog while saying “dog,” yet by the time the child hears the word and connects the parent’s pointing action, the dog may have jumped off the chair and the child instead looks at a chair – then connecting the word “dog” to a chair.
Researchers are still in the early phases of their learning, but it may help open up ways to improve language capabilities in autistic children. For example, parents and therapists may find that pausing often when speaking – allowing the child to have the time to process what they’re hearing – is very beneficial (…and this is something you may have already found out yourself regardless of such research).
Hopefully all of this leading us to a better understanding of this often baffling disorder – providing us with another piece of the puzzle.
Lynsey, Community Manger