A new study published in the August 2010 edition of Autism Research is helping doctors to understand what happens inside of the brain of an individual with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Multi Sensory Integration (MSI) is the study of how we integrate information from different sensory systems.All this information comes together in how we perceive our surroundings and how we act in our world.
Dr. Sophie Molholm says, for example, “with our eyes we see, from our ears we hear, with our olfactory system we smell.”
Sensory integration dysfunction has been hypothesized for decades, and we see many therapies focusing on sensory integration but very little research to understand what might be going on in the brain of the person with autism.
In this study at Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, the children were presented with sounds and other sensory stimuli such as buzzes to the finger. The brain response was then recorded with an EEG. The study found children with autism to be deficient in the speed with which they integrate, or process, the multi sensory inputs. With children with autism, it requires much more effort to process the sensory stimuli when coming at a multi sensory pace, and we now have the research to prove that.
Dr. Foxe’s research partner, Sophie Molholm, Ph.D., serves as associate professor of pediatrics and of neuroscience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Based on these initial findings, Dr. Sophie Molholm, Ph.D. recommends that service providers should minimize the amount of sensory input coming in to the individual with autism, to prevent over stimulation. A second recommendation is to develop a treatment to help them automatically integrate the multi sensory units of an object or an event.
Autism Research Finds Empirical Link Between Multisensory Integration and Autism – Albert Einstein College of Medicine Researchers Develop Method with Potential to Evaluate Effectiveness of Autism Therapy