© University of Alabama at Birmingham
Change in functional connectivity for the experimental group of autism spectrum disorder participants as a result of the reading intervention. The functional connectivity of the Broca’s area with the rest of the brain and the change in connectivity from pre-to-post intervention during resting state show statistically significant changes in connectivity in the left hemisphere. The scale (right) represents significance in terms of T threshold.
Ten weeks of intensive reading intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder was enough to strengthen the activity of loosely connected areas of their brains that work together to comprehend reading
, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have found. At the same time, the reading comprehension of those 13 children, whose average age was 10.9 years, also improved.
"This study is the first to do reading intervention with ASD children using brain imaging techniques, and the findings reflect the plasticity of the brain," said Rajesh Kana, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences and the senior author on this paper. "Some parents think, if their child is 8 or 10 years old when diagnosed, the game is lost. What I stress constantly is the importance of intervention, and the magic of intervention, on the brain in general and brain connectivity in particular."
Families taking part in the study received the intensive intervention -- which was four hours a day, five days a week, for a total of 200 hours of face-to-face instruction -- free of charge, says Kana.