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Sensory processing in children with and without developmental conditions

We are looking at how autistic children and dyslexic children process sensory information and how this compares to children without a developmental condition. The research will help us understand more about sensory processing in autism and dyslexia, and how the two conditions differ and overlap.

Who are we asking to participate?

We are looking for children aged 6 to 14 years, who have either:

  • an autism spectrum diagnosis,
  • a dyslexia diagnosis, OR
  • no diagnosed developmental conditions

What will it involve?

Children will play a fun computer game where they are asked to work out the direction of a set of moving fireflies. Optionally, while children play the game, they will wear a cap with sensors that listen to their brain waves. This method is called ‘EEG’, and is completely harmless. Nothing comes out of the sensors – we will just be eavesdropping on ongoing brain activity. If children do not want to take part in the EEG, they can still play the computer games without it. We will also do some language and reasoning activities and you will be asked to complete some brief questionnaires. Families will be given a gift voucher as a thank-you for taking part, and we will reimburse travel expenses if you travel to the University.

Where and when will the project take place?

We will see you for two sessions, each lasting about 1.5 to 2 hours (this will be less if your child is not doing the EEG part of the study). If your child is taking part in the EEG, you will be asked to come into the University. If not, the sessions can be conducted either at the University, home, or school. The sessions can be conducted on the same day (with a break), or split across different days. We can see you and your child after-school, at the weekends, or in the holidays.

How long will it take?

If you are interested in your child participating, or would like to find out more, please contact Dr Cathy Manning: catherine.manning@psy.ox.ac.uk / 01865 271 442. By getting in touch you are not committing to participate in the study.

Research ethics approval number: R56348/RE001