Tiffany Woynaroski Assistant Professor, Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Frist Center for Austism and Innovation, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt Brain Institute

Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 12:30pm

Biobehavioral Approaches to Translational Research in Neurodevelopmental Disorders: A Spotlight on Sensory Differences in Autism


Individuals with autism experience early-emerging and long-persisting differences in patterns of responding to sensory stimuli (i.e., sensory responsiveness) that are now recognized as “core characteristics” of the condition. It has been theorized that these alterations in sensory responsiveness arise early in life from biological and/or behavioral factors and produce “cascading effects” on the development of higher-order skills conventionally associated with autism, such as language and communication ability. If this is the case, then monitoring and/or intervening upon sensory responsiveness, particularly early in life, may translate to improved language and communication outcomes in persons on the autism spectrum, at least in part by influencing the biobehavioral factors that underlie sensory differences in this clinical population. Dr. Woynaroski will share recent findings from clinical-translational studies in her laboratory that lend increasing empirical support to this cascading effects framework.

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