Neural and Behavioral Differences in Speech Perception for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Within an Audiovisual Context.

Publication date: Jul 12, 2023

Reduced use of visible articulatory information on a speaker’s face has been implicated as a possible contributor to language deficits in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We employ an audiovisual (AV) phonemic restoration paradigm to measure behavioral performance (button press) and event-related potentials (ERPs) of visual speech perception in children with ASD and their neurotypical peers to assess potential neural substrates that contribute to group differences. Two sets of speech stimuli, /ba/-“/a/” (“/a/” was created from the /ba/ token by a reducing the initial consonant) and /ba/-/pa/, were presented within an auditory oddball paradigm to children aged 6-13 years with ASD (n = 17) and typical development (TD; n = 33) within two conditions. The AV condition contained a fully visible speaking face; the pixelated (PX) condition included a face, but the mouth and jaw were PX, removing all articulatory information. When articulatory features were present for the /ba/-“/a/” contrast, it was expected that the influence of the visual articulators would facilitate a phonemic restoration effect in which “/a/” would be perceived as /ba/. ERPs were recorded during the experiment while children were required to press a button for the deviant sound for both sets of speech contrasts within both conditions. Button press data revealed that TD children were more accurate in discriminating between /ba/-“/a/” and /ba/-/pa/ contrasts in the PX condition relative to the ASD group. ERPs in response to the /ba/-/pa/ contrast within both AV and PX conditions differed between children with ASD and TD children (earlier P300 responses for children with ASD). Children with ASD differ in the underlying neural mechanisms responsible for speech processing compared with TD peers within an AV context.

Concepts Keywords
Audiovisual Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Child
Oddball Evoked Potentials
Reduced Humans
Td Language
Speech Perception
Visual Perception


Type Source Name
disease MESH Autism Spectrum Disorders

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