A new study is shedding light on one of the key mysteries of autism -- why some children have extreme reactions to noise.Austin Miller, 16, said, “I would describe having Asperger's syndrome as being like a computer that's running a different operating system than what most computers run.”
Austin wasn't diagnosed with an autism
spectrum disorder until he was 12, but even when he was a toddler, his mother, Karen
Miller, noticed he had extreme reactions to sound.
Researchers have long observed that
kids with autism struggle with communication. For the
first time, scientists at Vanderbilt University have shown one reason why.
A typical person sees a person talking
and it's in sync. But in many kids with autism, there's a delay between what
they see and hear, so they experience speech out of sync. It's as if
they're watching a badly dubbed movie where the words and the pictures don't
Mark Wallace, lead author of the study, explained, “One of the classic pictures that you see with autism is children that will actually be covering over their ears. They're trying to filter out that confusing information and focus only on one sense, let's say vision in this circumstance.”
Wallace's team has developed a video game to try to help
kids with autism practice putting sight and sound together. Austin is trying
for more features.