BALU - Young children with autism spectrum disorder: learning and development
In BALU we are investigating early development and learning of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The aim of such investigation is to advance our knowledge that can further contribute to the development of better interventions for children and their parents.
In BALU, play-based tasks are carried out with children aged 2-4 years
About the project
Barn med Autismespekterforstyrrelse: Læring og Utvikling (BALU; Young children with autism spectrum disorder: learning and development) is a research project where we follow a group of young children with ASD in order to learn more about their development and learning.
It is crucial to gain more knowledge of early development and learning of children with ASD, including factors that promote or hinder these processes. In addition, gaining the knowledge of the help and support that ASD children and their families receive is also of importance. Collectively, this can further contribute to the development of better interventions for children and their parents.
We are conducting a longitudinal study, where we recruit a large group of ASD children aged between 2 – 4 years. Within the study, we assess all children with a comprehensive test battery, and collect questionnaire data from their parents and preschool staff. All tests, including the questionnaires, are conducted twice with a one-year gap in between.
We have also recruited a group of children with typical development that function as a control group in this study. This gives us the opportunity to examine how children with autism spectrum disorder develop compared to their peers.
The test battery includes measures of:
- Expressive and receptive language
- Social communication and interaction
- Cognitive abilities, including executive functioning.
The battery consists of well-known standardized behavioral test, video-observations as well as eye-tracking and electroencephalography (EEG). All assessments are performed in a playful and non-invasive way, that can be adapted to the needs of each individual child.
The overall purpose of the study is to increase our knowledge of early development of language, social-, cognitive-, and executive functioning in children with ASD. In addition, we will investigate which early predictors contribute to later functioning and how individual, contextual and structural factors affect children’s learning and development. Such knowledge can significantly contribute to the development of interventions and education provided to young children with ASD.
The study is funded by Department of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo and NevSom, Oslo University Hospital