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The long-term effects of auditory training on children with autism

Abstract

Eighty children, 3–17 years of age, with autism or Asperger syndrome and mild to severe distress in the presence of some sounds, were randomly allocated to two groups. The experimental group received auditory training and the control group listened to the same unmodified music under the same conditions. Significant improvements in behavior and severity of autism were maintained for 12 months by both groups. Informal data suggested that a range of abnormal responses to sound and other sensory abnormalities may also have improved. Verbal and performance IQ increased significantly 3 to 12 months after interventions. Findings suggest that some aspect of both auditory training and listening to selected unmodified music may have a beneficial effect on children with autism and sound sensitivity, and indicate a need for further research into the effects that led to these changes and the mechanisms involved in the sensory abnormalities commonly associated with autism.

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The work for this study was supported by a Health, Housing and Community Services Research and Development Grant from the Commonwealth Department of Health, Housing and Community-Services, an Apex Trust for Autism Grant and the Autistic Association of New South Wales. The assistance of the following colleagues is gratefully acknowledged: Pam Bjorke, Ann Brown, Phillip Dermody, Gordana Dondovic, Stephen Edelson, Wayne Hall, and the parents and school staff who worked on the project. Acknowledgement is also due to Roslyn Sparrevohn, who did the majority of assessments, and Tony Attwood, Laurie Bartak, Ed Ritvo, Eric Schopler, and Bruce Tonge for their encouragement and advice.

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Bettison, S. The long-term effects of auditory training on children with autism. J Autism Dev Disord 26, 361–374 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02172480

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02172480

Keywords

  • Beneficial Effect
  • School Psychology
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Abnormal Response
  • Sensory Abnormality