New Study Pinpoints Difference in the Way Children with Autism Learn New Behavior

Date: 
July 07, 2009


Kennedy Krieger and Johns Hopkins Researchers Examine the Brain Basis of Motor Control, Imitation and Social Function Deficits

Researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have collaborated to uncover important new insights into the neurological basis of autism. Their new study, funded in part by Autism Speaks, and published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, examines patterns of movement as children with autism and typically developing children learned to control a novel tool. The findings suggest that children with autism appear to learn new actions differently than do typically developing children. As compared to their typically developing peers, children with autism relied much more on their own internal sense of body position (proprioception), rather than visual information coming from the external world to learn new patterns of movement. Furthermore, researchers found that the greater the reliance on proprioception, the greater the child's impairment in social skills, motor skills and imitation.

Read the full press release on the Kennedy Krieger Institute website, here.