WTAMU Researchers Seeking Volunteers for Research on Autism Spectrum Disorder

CANYON, Texas—Poor social communication and repetitive behaviors have been the best source for pinpointing autism spectrum disorder, but researchers at West Texas A&M University are looking at another investigative tool that could provide a more objective measure in diagnostic reliability. Dr. Timothy Atchison, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Leslie Dalton, visiting professor of communication disorders, are seeking young individuals with autism spectrum diagnosis to volunteer for both audiological and cognitive testing. Data gathered from the testing will be used to further their research on a more reliable tool in diagnosis of autism spectrum diagnosis. The researchers are looking for volunteers between the ages of 15 and 25.Their research is a collaborative effort between University departments and explores a common symptom among autistic spectrum individuals that display hypersensitivity to loud or persistent sounds. Dalton has identified auditory neural mechanisms tied to the hypersensitivity that could provide a diagnosis and lead to further research for additional information about the disorder. Atchison also is mentoring Meghan Slattery, a senior psychology major from Houston, who received a 2012 President’s Undergraduate Summer Research Award for her project on “Neuropsychological Function and Auditory Response in Young Adult Autistic Spectrum Individuals.” Additional data from autism spectrum volunteers also will benefit her research by providing information that will help improve the understanding of the challenges those with autism spectrum have to live with each and every day.Individuals between the ages of 15 and 25 interested in more information about volunteering for the autism spectrum research can contact Atchison at 806-651-2729 or at tatchison@wtamu.edu.