"Linking Linguistic and Neural Impairments in Autism"
A central component of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is impaired communication, yet little is known about how the linguistic deficits relate to the neurophysiological phenotype of ASD. Challenges lie in how to characterize language comprehension difficulties in this heterogenous population, and how to relate clinical behaviors to underlying linguistic representations and computations. Recent studies showing disrupted neural synchrony in early auditory processes linked to phoneme perception suggest one possible mechanism: auditory disruption, cashed out in how the acoustic signal is sampled in time, may have a cascading impact on down-stream linguistic processes. Key to this cascade is the effect, possibly subtle, on predictive processing at multiple levels of representation. We present preliminary data from ongoing Magnetoencephalography research in children with and without ASD testing this hypothesis.