Research into Social Responsiveness in Children

Research into the Sensory and Motor correlates of Social Responsiveness in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

My name is Michaela Murray and I am currently studying for a MSc in Cognitive
and Clinical Neuroscience at Goldsmiths, University of London and I am required to
complete a research project as part of my coursework. I have decided to examine
how sensory processing and motor coordination impairments, which are frequently
observed in conjunction with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), affect social abilities in
children with this disorder.

STUDY TITLE: The Sensory and Motor correlates of Social Responsiveness in
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

PARTICIPANTS: Participants of this study will include parents of children aged
between 5 and 10 years old.

Purpose of the study

As the causes of ASD are not yet known, the causal mechanisms behind social
impairments, the most significant deficit associated with the disorder, are not yet fully
understood. Children with ASD are frequently reported to exhibit sensory modulation
deficits such as behaviours associated with sensory sensitivity (e.g. covering ears to
loud sounds), sensory under-responsivity (e.g. failure to respond to name) and sensory
seeking (e.g. rocking). Similarly, disturbances in motor behaviour are commonly
associated with the disorder and early motor deficits are often among the earliest
symptoms observed in children with autism. Evidence from multiple studies has
shown that, although not part of the diagnostic criteria, these impairments may play an
important role in the rate of acquisition of language, social, and communication skills.

The current study aims to further investigate the theory that atypical sensory
processing and motor coordination patterns may play an important role in the severity
of social skills in children with autism. A more detailed understanding of such patterns
will add to the understanding of how they manifest in behaviour and interact with the
core characteristics of the disorder. It is hoped that this knowledge may then allow for
more targeted approaches to early intervention in the future.

Procedure

If you are interested in taking part, you can either complete the questionnaires:

1.) Online at http://ww3.unipark.de/uc/Team_Hill/f684
2.) In pen and paper (please email Michaela and request a copy to be posted to you)
3.) On your mobile phone by scanning the QR code below:

Autism QR Code

These questionnaires contain questions about your child’s social abilities, sensory
abilities and motor abilities and can be completed at any point up until the 15th July
2013.Your child does not need to participate, although you may wish to observe a
particular behaviour that you have been asked a question about, in order to confirm
your answer. In total, it will take approximately 35 minutes to complete all three
questionnaires. Please answer all questions as honestly and accurately as possible.

Compensation for your time

As a thank you for your participation in this study, each participant will be entered into
a draw to win a €100/£100 M&S voucher. If you would like to be entered in this draw,
please provide your contact details as requested on online/paper forms.

Participant rights

Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you may refuse to complete
the study at any point without prejudice, or refrain from answering any questions with
which you are uncomfortable.

Confidentiality

All responses will be treated with the strictest sensitivity and stored in secure files to
ensure confidentiality. All identifying information will be removed from questionnaires
as soon as your participation is complete and all responses will be analysed as a whole.

For further information

Should you require any further information about this study, please contact Michaela
Murray at ps203mm@gold.ac.uk.

Alternatively you can contact my research project supervisor, Elisabeth Hill, by email at
e.hill@gold.ac.uk.

Thank you very much for your time.

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