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Research News: Brain Differences Between Children with Autism and Children with SPD

Another study just out from USCF that continued to build on a previous study that found white matter differences in the sensory based tracts in the brain of children with autism vs. children with sensory processing difficulties.  White matter tracts in the brain were analyzed via MRI.  The new study shows the importance of these specific white matter tracts using another MRI technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)  in relation auditory processing, working memory, social skills, and inattention across three study  groups (neurotypical, children with autism, children with sensory processing issues only).  The findings are helping scientists to better understand “the roles of specific neural circuits in neurodevelopmental disorders, and begin to explore the dimensional relationship between critical cognitive functions and structural connectivity across affected and unaffected children.  Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) as its own separate and distinct disorder.”


For details, please see

Chang Y-S, Owen JP, Desai SS, Hill SS, Arnett AB, et al. (2014) Autism and Sensory Processing Disorders: Shared White Matter Disruption in Sensory Pathways but Divergent Connectivity in Social-Emotional Pathways. PLoS ONE 9(7): e103038. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103038




Submitted by Elaine Tsang, MS, OTR/L