This application describes an interrelated program of studies that will provide a broad and multifaceted array of data on neurobiological and family processes that contribute to the social development of higher-function children with autism (UFA children). It has been designed to provide descriptive scientific data necessary to establish an immediately useful foundation for the development of more effective diagnostic and intervention methods to meet the specific social emotional needs of higher functioning children in the elementary through high-school years. In conjunction with this applied goal, this program of studies has also been designed to test new hypotheses about the role of motivation and self-monitoring related brain systems, as well as family factors, in the social development of HFA children. In particular, this application describes research that will examine dimensions of neurobiological and family processes that theory suggests contribute to both social impairments and comorbidity in higher functioning children. Included here are: 1) motivation processes associated with anterior EEG asymmetry, 2) self-monitoring processes associated with EEG error related negativity and, 3) processes associated with parent's emotional status and family critical expressed emotion (EE).
1 aim of this research is to replicate and extend preliminary observations that anterior EEG asymmetry measures provide an important marker of subgroups of HFA children that significantly differ from each other, and controls, on measures of social impairment, comorbid anxiety and executive functions.
A second aim i s to test the hypotheses that HFA children will differ from controls on measures of self-monitoring, and that self-monitoring will be related to HFA sub-group differences in social impairments and comorbid anxiety.
A final aim of this application is to examine the degree to which parent emotional status and/or family expressed emotion is related to individual differences in social impairments and comorbidity among HFA children. To address these specific aims this application proposes a study of 120 HFA children in 2 age groups (8-12 and 13-17 years) and 120 age, gender and IQ matched controls.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Child Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities Study Section (CPDD)
Program Officer
Gilotty, Lisa
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University of Miami Coral Gables
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Coral Gables
United States
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Jaime, Mark; McMahon, Camilla M; Davidson, Bridget C et al. (2016) Brief Report: Reduced Temporal-Central EEG Alpha Coherence During Joint Attention Perception in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 46:1477-89
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