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Sights, sounds out of sync for autistic children: study

In the first study of its kind, new research finds what children with autism see doesn't quite match up to what they hear. 

Think of it like watching a movie that’s badly dubbed. (Via Vanderbilt)

That’s what researchers at Vanderbilt Unviersity say it’s like for children with autism whose brains can’t immediately connect noises with sounds. (Via University of California San Francisco

And that can cause many children with the disorder to hear sounds up to half a second later than most people. 

The Vanderbilt team studied 32 high-functioning children with autism, and 32 typically-developing children. They all had about the same IQ scores. (Via WKRN)  

The children were put in front of TVs and asked to press buttons when they heard sounds that matched up with visual stimuli. On average, it took the children with autism longer to respond. (Via KCWE)

The researchers say it's possible autistic children can outgrow these sensory problems by the time they reach their teens, but that it could still damage their speech development. 

A pediatric neurologist tells NBC, while the Vanderbilt study is useful, more research is needed to determine how this impacts a child's social development. "This study doesn't tell us what does this really mean on a day to day basis, out in the field, in the home, in the school." (Via NBC / WWLP

The researchers say they hope their findings improve the way the disorder is treated. So far, they’ve developed a game to help autistic kids practice matching sights with sounds.

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