Table of Contents
ISRN Neuroscience
Volume 2013, Article ID 796174, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/796174
Clinical Study

The Effect of Performing a Dual Task on Postural Control in Children with Autism

1UMR 676 Inserm - Université Paris Diderot, Hôpital Robert Debré, 48 Bd Sérurier, 75019 Paris, France
2C.R.E.D.A.T. Centre de Recherche et de Diagnostic de l’Austime et des Troubles Apparentés, Centre Hospitalier Sainte Anne, 1 rue Cabanis, 75674 Paris, Cédex 14, France
3Laboratoire de Psychologie et Processus de Santé, LPPS EA 4057, Université Paris Descartes, 92774 Boulogne-Billancourt Cedex, France

Received 22 August 2013; Accepted 22 September 2013

Academic Editors: S. Canan and T. Sadakata

Copyright © 2013 Maria Pia Bucci et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The aim of the study was to explore the effect of eye movements (saccades and pursuits) on postural stability in children with autism versus typically developing children of comparable age. Postural stability was recorded with a platform (Techno Concept) in seven children with autism (mean age: 6 ± 0.8) while fixating a target or making saccades or pursuit eye movements. Data was compared to that of seven age-matched typically developing children. Surface area and mean speed of the center of pressure (CoP) were measured. Autistic children (AC) were more instable than typically developing children (TD), both in simple as well as dual task conditions. Performing a dual task thus affects AC and TD children in a different way. AC stability is not improved during saccades or pursuit eye movements in the dual task condition; in contrast, saccades significantly improve postural stability in TD children. The postural instability observed in AC during simple as well as dual task supports the hypothesis that such children have deficits in cerebellar functions.