Children on the autistic disorder spectrum (ASD) often show auditory processing deficits that result in their language impairments.
This impairs their social and communicative abilities, their use of language, social interaction, and imaginative and symbolic play. They can have problems processing speech in background noise. The results of these APD aspects have been well documented and are well known.
The challenge is to improve their brain's ability to process speech sounds aspects such as timing of receptive language, pitch, intonation, and clarity of signal. Then the person with autism or Aspergers can have a lot more effective and easier processing of language. This results in improved cognitive performance, better behavioural aspects and more fluent processing of information.
A study published recently from North Western University assesses the impact of auditory training on auditory function in children with ASD. Brainstem and cortical responses to speech sounds presented in quiet and noise were collected from five children with ASD and six in a control group. The children who completed Fast ForWord training showed the beneficial impact of the use the Fast ForWord program to improve neural activity in subcortical and cortical response timing as well as brain stem activity.
Relative to six control children with ASD who did not complete Fast ForWord, training-related changes were found in brainstem response timing (three children) and pitch-tracking (one child), and cortical response timing (all five children) after Fast ForWord use.
The researchers concluded that these results provide an objective indication of the benefit of training on auditory function for children with ASD.