New Health Projects Look at Autism Spectrum (ASD) Disorders in School Children

Two projects are underway to study autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children. Assistant Professor Kristie P. Koenig of the Department of Occupational Therapy will be evaluating the Get Ready to Learn (GRTL) Program at PS 176X, a New York City public school for children with autism. The GRTL program uses breathing exercises, yoga postures, and relaxation techniques to enhance the function and academic performance of students with disabilities. Koenig’s trial will assess the impact of the program on adaptive behaviors, attention to tasks, and transition skills.

Associate Professor Christina Reuterskiöld of theDepartment of Communicative Sciences and Disorders has begun collecting pilot data for a study with school-aged children called Language and Context in Children with ASD. The study will investigate how different speaking contexts effect language production in children. Reuterskiöld and her team will be measuring characteristics such as speech hesitations, self-repetitions, and grammatical complexity to learn how different speaking tasks influence the way children formulate sentences and put them together. The results will inform treatment procedures for children with impaired communication skills.