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    Early development of sensory perception in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    Piccardi, Elena Serena (2021) Early development of sensory perception in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Abstract

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are co-occurring neurodevelopmental disorders emerging early in development. Molecular genetics research suggests that common sensory vulnerabilities underlie the emergence of both disorders, yet no research examined the same sensory markers as potential infant predictors of ASD or ADHD traits in toddlerhood. This thesis examines the early development of sensory perception in infants at elevated likelihood of ASD and/or ADHD and infants at typical likelihood of the disorders. Chapters 1-2 present, respectively, a theoretical introduction and methodological considerations for the investigation of sensory perception in these conditions. Chapter 3 presents evidence from an EEG tactile repetition suppression task administered to 10-month-old infants, prospectively re-assessed at 24 months. Results indicate that reduced repetition suppression is a marker of ASD in infancy and predicts ASD traits in toddlerhood. Results further suggest that early enhanced parent-reported tactile sensory seeking mitigates the association between tactile atypicality and later ASD traits. Chapter 4 presents evidence from an EEG visual task administered to 10-month-old infants, prospectively re-assessed at 24 months. Results indicate that enhanced responsiveness to visual input is a marker of ASD or ADHD in infancy and predicts concurrent parent-reported visual sensory seeking. Results further indicate that enhanced responsiveness to incoming stimulation in infants with later higher ASD traits results from reduced prioritization of ongoing information. Chapter 5 presents a proof-of-concept demonstration that variation in responsiveness to visual input also reflects variation in engagement with ongoing information in an independent cohort of 10-month-old infants at typical likelihood of the conditions. Chapter 6 adopts an individual differences approach and reports on the concurrent/longitudinal associations between markers of information prioritization emerged from Chapter 5 and parent-reported sensory seeking, ASD and ADHD traits in the same participant sample, prospectively re-assessed at 16 months. Chapter 7 discusses contributions and implications for research on the early development of sensory perception in ASD and ADHD.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2021 11:39
    Last Modified: 07 Sep 2021 11:39
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/45866

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