Monday, August 19, 2013

Effects of Visual and Auditory Input on Postural Control in Children with Autism

Gait and Posture published research on the postural control of children with autism under two different task conditions.  Nineteen children with autism (ages 10-15) were compared to 28 typically developing peers.  Using a force platform to assess postural control, each subject completed a visual searching task and an auditory digital span task. The following results were seen:
  • children with autism spectrum disorder indicated higher postural sway scores in visual task versus auditory task although typically developing children scores remained unchanged.
  • children with autism spectrum disorder also showed significantly higher sway scores than typically developing children in all parameters.  
The researchers concluded that in addition to primary differences in postural control of children with autism, visual and auditory tasks may also influence postural control.

Reference: Amir Hossein Memari, Parisa Ghanouni, Monir Shayestehfar, Vahid Ziaee, et al. Effects of visual search vs. auditory tasks on postural control in children with autism spectrum disorder. Gait and Posture. In press on 8/6/13 DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2013.07.012   

4 comments: said...

Well that's not unexpected. If balance is challenged we would expect to use our visual system to compensate. If the kids already had decreased postural control, they would be even further challenged by having to use their eyes for a visual task. I think it does highlight the need in therapy for working on improving core stability and proprioceptively driven postural activities to "free up" the eyes for visual tasks.

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

It definitely highlights how important improving postural control is to help with learning new skills considering such a large percentage of school based learning is visual input.

I understand what you are saying about using the visual system to help with maintaining balance. But this was completing a visual searching task while maintaining postural control. So like you stated the big issue is the need to free up the eyes for visual tasks. Also makes a great case for making sure that children with autism have supportive seating while working on improving postural control.

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

One more thing... thank you very much for the comment wiredOndevelopment. Makes for good discussion!

Shelley Mannell said...

Thanks for the reference to this article. The more we learn about the complexity of sensory input for postural control, the more it points to incorporating all the sensory systems into treatment for improved postural control.

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