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You are here: Home / News & Events / Kelly Coburn (Penn State) - Development of Neural Structure and Function in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Learning Language

Kelly Coburn (Penn State) - Development of Neural Structure and Function in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Learning Language

When Feb 28, 2020
from 09:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Where Moore 127
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Development of Neural Structure and Function in Autism Spectrum Disorder:

Implications for Learning Language

 

Neurodevelopmental processes that continue throughout childhood typically lead to spoken language. Improved models of language in the brain can help us to understand typical development, as well as the disruptions to language that occur in developmental conditions like autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental conditions, currently estimated to affect 1 in 59 American children (CDC, 2018). Typical post-natal brain development will be discussed in relation to the known neurodevelopmental differences that occur in ASD. Evidence from structural and functional MRI, DTI, MEG, and EEG will be summarized. Structural differences include altered patterns of cortical growth and myelination. Functional differences occur at all levels of the brain, from lateralization of functions in the cortex to the rhythmic activations of single neurons. Neuronal oscillations, in particular, could help explain disrupted language development by elucidating the timing differences in autistic brains that contribute to reduced functional connectivity, complex information processing, and speech parsing. Findings related to implicit statistical learning, explicit learning of behavioral tasks, multisensory integration, and reinforcement in ASD will also be discussed. Implications of known neural differences can be extended to language instruction and clinical intervention for autistic children at early stages of language learning, and recommendations will be offered.