Study: Vision and sound don't sync for some autistic children

Study: Vision and sound don't sync for some autistic children

(TYLER) - We're learning much more about what every day communication might be like for some kids with autism spectrum disorder. It's brand new research that could lead to a breakthrough for autistic children.

When most of us are talking to someone, we can hear and see what they're saying at the exact same time. Researchers are now learning that may not be the case for some autistic children, like 9-year-old Devon Simpson from Tyler.


"He can talk. He's very verbal now, but there's still that big barrier of communication. He struggles with a lot of vision, hearing, sensory issues," says his mom Kalea Simpson.

The Journal of Neuroscience study showed that some autistic children process sound and sight separately, which means it takes them longer to understand what's being said to them.

This research suggests everyday communication may be like watching an actor talk on TV with the audio out of sync. 

Devon's senses are very strong.

"I can't crank the car up without him putting his hands over his ears," Simpson says. "Also, if it's a really bright day, he can't go outside without putting his hands over his eyes."

Because Devon feels and sees and hears things so intensely, Simpson says it's hard for him to process a lot of senses at once.

"When he was learning to talk, there'd be this big delay," she says.

Devon has been in therapy since he was three, which is why Simpson says he can communicate at all.

"We have him look at us, look at our mouth or our eyes or our face, but our mouth so he can see how we're saying it."

She calls every day an adventure.

"His world, it's different than how I perceive the world," she says. "Seeing this article is kind of an eye opener!"

She's thankful for research that helps her understand not only how her son struggles, but how he thinks, and how he grows. 

This study is very new and researchers agree much more needs to be done. However, for parents like Kalea Simpson, this could be a breakthrough in helping autistic children communicate better as they get older.


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