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Research Overview

About Us

Despite the characterization of social and communication deficits defining autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the earliest signs of atypical neurodevelopment are behavioral differences in attention, movement and responses to sensory stimuli.

Our group uses EEG, eye-tracking, motion capture and behavioral testing to study attention, sensory processing and motor function in autism.

We believe studying these foundational aspects of neurodevelopment will help us better understand ASD in older children and, importantly lead to the design of novel and more effective interventions.

We work in conjunction with UC San Diego's Power of NeuroGaming Center (PoNG) to develop technology for the assessment and training of attention, movement, and cognition in autism, ADHD, older adult, and typically developing populations.

Research Focus

  • Investigating the neural correlates to brain based sensory abnormalities.
  • Characterizing motor function across multiple domains by recording eye movement, balance and gait.
  • Evaluating the distribution, control and modulation of attention in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Translating our research findings into novel interventions for children and adults on the Autism Spectrum.

Research Projects

The influence of attention and arousal on sensory sensitivities in ASD

Many people with ASD report having sensory processing challenges. This study will use surveys and event-related brain potential, heart-rate, and skin conductance measures to increase our understanding of sensory processing in ASD. 

The goal of this project is to answer the following questions:

  • Is the source of sensory processing challenges in ASD related to the manner in which the brain processes visual and auditory sensations?
  • Or do sensory processing challenges result from interactions of attention and arousal with sensory processing?

Training attention and eye movement

We are developing and testing a novel intervention to train the speed and accuracy of attention orienting and saccadic (side to side) eye movement behavior in ASD. This project has a strong scientific base, grounded by past studies of visual attention and its behavioral correlate: saccadic eye movements.