Children With Autism Process Sound and Vision Differently

Autistic Children Process Sound and Vision Differently Than Others

As you already know well, autism is a neural developmental disorder which impedes a young child diagnosed with the disorder to experience an impaired sense of socially interactive and communication skills.  This disorder changes how information is processed in the brain and how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize that information.  Thus, kids diagnosed with autism often see the world through a different set of lenses than the average person.  The way they process sound and the way they see and process images is more layered than the average child.  Understanding how children with autism process the world of sights and sounds around them can help scientists, therapists, and parents understand the behavioral patterns of these children.

MRI research studies show that those diagnosed with autism have particular yet similar abnormalities in their brains: the cerebellum, brain stem, hippocampus, amygdala, the limbic system, and frontal cortex.  This in turn, effects how they intake and process information and deal with multisensory conditions.  Because they are more sensitive to the combination of sensory experiences, sights and sounds occurring together can sometimes send them into abnormal fits of behavior, flapping their hands, rocking themselves in the corner, putting their hands over their ears, etc.  The world around them floods their brain and their senses with an overload of information, which when conditions increase, overwhelms them and can make them feel lost within their own body or their own world.  It is easier for children with autism to process unisensory condition as opposed to multisensory conditions, because their brains are more comfortable processing one sense at a time.  Therefore, their external behavior is merely a reflection of the overload of information bouncing around in their brains.

Some kids diagnosed with autism who also experience the overwhelming flood of information for their brains to process can become under-sensitive as opposed to hyper-sensitive to the world and its happenings around them.  What happens is, as these types of children attempt to cope with the loads of information flooding their brains, they begin to close themselves off or shut themselves off from the source of that information flow.  In these cases, kids become introverted and turn into themselves and close themselves off from the world around them in order to keep themselves safe from the painful flow of sensory conditions overwhelming them.  No two autism cases are alike, and children especially all behave differently as they learn to live in a world that is constantly overwhelming their little brains with too much of everything.

The external behavioral patterns of children with autism, like tapping, mouthing objects, or head banging have led the leaders in autism research to believe that these are simply reactions to external sensory stimulus.  And because their nervous systems are incapable of processing sensory information in way that doesn’t overwhelm them, they exhibit these behaviors in order to set their boundaries between themselves and the world around them.  These behaviors are their way of coping and relieving or increasing the amount of information that they are able to process.

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