Trajectoires de développement cognitif chez l'enfant autiste

 

Isabelle Soulières

Université du Québec à Montréal [UQAM]

 

Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2018-2019

Autistic children perform much better on abstract reasoning than their apparent intelligence and adaptation level. Common belief has been that autistic children are impaired on all "complex" tasks. Growing empirical evidence however suggests that specific perceptual superiorities and different learning and reasoning mechanisms characterize autism. This could lead to a preference for visual thinking: autistic individuals may think more in pictures than with words and hypotheses as others do.

My research program aims at understanding the development of reasoning and learning abilities, and their specificities in children on the autism spectrum. My team and I will employ computerized tasks and functional brain imaging techniques to investigate reasoning and learning development in autism spectrum children versus typical children.

We aim to understand (1) the predictors of intellectual development in preschoolers on the autism spectrum (2) the developmental trajectory of reasoning abilities in school-age autism spectrum children, as well as (3) learning processes in school-age autism spectrum children. The long-term goal of this research program is to develop a better understanding of privileged modes of reasoning and learning in children on the autism spectrum, in order to develop targeted and efficient teaching and learning methods for them.