Screen Time in Children is Directly Related to Autism and ADHD Issues

Autism | ADHD
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Recent research from Drexel University offers startling new information about how screen use affects young children.

According to the research, infants and young children that watch television or videos may display unusual sensory patterns and struggle to understand their environment.

Disengagement, the need for more intense stimulation, or being overstimulated by stimuli like bright lights or loud noises are examples of atypical sensory behaviors.

The results showed that by the time these kids were 33 months old, they had a higher chance of exhibiting behaviors like “sensation seeking,” “sensation avoiding,” and “low registration,” which refers to being less sensitive or responding slowly to stimuli.

Karen Heffler, MD, an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Drexel and the principal author of the study, underlines the potential significance of these findings for disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism, where abnormal sensory processing is more common.

Given the higher prevalence of abnormal sensory processing in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Dr. Heffler said that this link may have significant consequences for both conditions.

Atypical sensory processing and repetitive behavior, as that shown in autism spectrum disorder, are significantly connected. Future research may explore the possibility that screen time in early life contributes to the sensory brain hyperconnectivity associated with autism spectrum disorders, including elevated brain reactions to sensory stimuli, according to Dr. Heffler’s conclusion.

The study concentrated on kids who, by the time they turned two, had been exposed to more TV.
The Infant/Toddler Sensory Profile was used to evaluate sensory processing abilities, which are essential for an effective and suitable reaction to sensory inputs (such as hearing, seeing, touching, and taste) (ITSP).

Low registration, sensation seeking (such as excessive touching or smelling objects), sensory sensitivity (such as irritation from lights and noise), and sensation avoiding (actively controlling their environment to avoid experiences like teeth brushing) are some of the subscales of the ITSP that measure children’s patterns of sensory behavior.

Children are scored into one of three categories: “typical,” “high,” or “low,” depending on how frequently they engage in these sensory-related behaviors. A score is considered “typical” if it is within one standard deviation of the average of the ITSP norm.

The study team examined National youngsters’s Study data from 2011 to 2014, which included 1,471 youngsters nationally (50 percent of whom were male).

Reactions from caregivers were used to calculate screen exposure at three distinct age milestones: twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four months.

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