Frontiers: University of Kansas Clinical and Translational Science Institute - Sensorimotor function in autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
The proposed project will assess sensorimotor function – the use of sensory information to plan and correct movements and learn from previous motor experiences – in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental disability that is characterized by two primary symptom domains: deficits in social communication and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors and interests1. In addition to these characteristic features, sensorimotor disturbances are highly prevalent in individuals with ASD. They often emerge before the core symptoms of ASD2, and they are associated with language, social, and cognitive outcomes3–7, suggesting that treatments targeting sensorimotor issues may have broad implications for affecting developmental trajectories. The discrete neural systems supporting sensorimotor behavior are well mapped based on primate8 and human lesion9–11 studies, suggesting that characterizing sensorimotor issues in patients will provide key insights into neural processes associated with ASD. As treatments for ASD are limited, a stronger understanding of neurophysiological mechanisms underlying ASD sensorimotor issues and core symptoms is needed for identifying new biological targets and developing more effective therapies.