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Assessing Motor Control across different Sensory Environments in Individuals with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder

September 13, 2022 - September 13, 2023

What are the goals of the study?

We are currently working on a project that aims to better understand how autistic people are influenced by sensory information (sights, sounds, etc.) while walking. In our current study, we are asking people to walk on a mat while they wear a virtual reality headset where they look at a sidewalk that is empty or a sidewalk that is in a busy area (pedestrians, billboards, etc.). While wearing the headset they will also hear sounds that correspond to these sidewalk situations (either silence or the types of noises you would expect if you were walking down a busy sidewalk). While they are walking, we record the pressure their feet exert on the mat and we compare these pressure patterns across the different conditions (busy and empty sidewalk, loud and quiet noise), to study whether different amounts of sensory information influence walking patterns.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Participants will be asked to fill out questionnaires, solve puzzles, and walk on a sensored mat while wearing virtual reality goggles.

How will this help families?

The study will help us to inform the development of environments that are more accessible for people with autism.

Eligibility Criteria

We are looking for people over the age of 16 with a formal diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Individuals with physical disabilities that limit their ability to walk independently are ineligible to participate in this study.

Contact Information

Nichole Scheerer – nscheerer@wlu.ca

Research Study Website
Western University

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