Effects of visual search vs. auditory tasks on postural control in children with autism spectrum disorder
Amir Hossein Memari
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Recent research in motor control shows the interactive role of cognitive factors in postural control. However, there is little understanding in how children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop their postural behaviors. This study compares the interference of visual or auditory tasks on postural control in children with ASD. We examined 19 children with ASD (10-15 years old) and also 28 age-matched typically developing (TD) children. They were asked to perform two tasks during postural control: (1) a visual searching task (2) an auditory digit span task. Postural performances were measured with a force platform. Results showed that children with ASD indicated higher postural sway scores in visual task vs. auditory task; as root mean square (p= 0.04), mean velocity (p= 0.01) and sway area (p= 0.02) but TD children scores remained unchanged. Children with ASD also showed significantly higher sway scores than TD children in all parameters. We conclude that in addition to primary differences in patterns of postural control of children with ASD compared to TD children, visual and auditory tasks may differently influence the postural control in this population. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.