Scientists look to help children with autism find a voice

CNN reports that when Ryan Wallace got a diagnosis of autism at age 2, his parents never thought they’d hear him speak. “He used to make noises. When he wanted something he would just point,” says Ryan’s father, Gerald David Wallace. “Or he would scream.” Therapists say that’s not unusual for someone with Ryan’s condition. According to doctors, many children with autism have difficulty understanding information from the outside world.  “The brain’s ability to process information comes in from the eyes, ears and other senses during infancy,” says Dr. Mark Wallace, an expert on sensory processing who directs the Vanderbilt Brain Institute who is not related to Ryan.”If that [ability] is compromised during the early developmental period, you will never be able to really gain full function in these systems.” Because these children lack the ability to understand this auditory information, it can prevent them from developing any form of language and therefore their ability to communicate. Some stages of autism make it hard for children to comprehend sounds, words, expressions and even inflections…

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