A Novel Intervention for Training Auditory Attention in Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder


Boston University Charles River Campus




Autism Spectrum Disorder


Behavioral: video game training exercise

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


Background: Previous research has shown that individuals with ASD often have difficulties coping with auditory stimuli in the environment. These difficulties can be extremely debilitating, lead to anxiety and disruptive behaviors, and interfere with the ability to process and understand speech. Research Design: In previous research, the investigators have identified a brain marker associated with poor auditory attention that can provide a direct readout of auditory processing issues. The investigators will develop and test a cognitive/behavioral intervention (a tablet-based game app) that is highly engaging and accessible to a wide range of individuals with ASD. The intervention is designed to train adolescents with ASD to adapt and attend to auditory cues. Objectives: To evaluate whether the intervention leads to improvement in auditory attention as assessed by behavior changes over the course of training; to investigate the impact of the intervention on behavioral assessment of problems hearing speech in noisy environments, neural processing of sounds, and changes in parent report on responses to sounds that impact that daily lives of the participants; and finally- to determine which adolescents with ASD benefit the most and least from interventions such as this one. We hypothesize that we can elicit changes in the neural processing of sounds for adolescents with ASD via training in the form of the tablet-based game we are developing. If we are successful, this could lead to other interventions for persons with ASD in the hopes of improving the auditory difficulties they face.




13 to 20 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

* Adolescent children and young adults, both males and females; * Between the ages of 13:0 and 20:11 years of age * Speak or hear English at home at least 50% of the time * Meet criteria for a confirmed diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Exclusion criteria

* Nonverbal mental age below 18 months * Insufficient manual dexterity that would prevent working with a tablet or phone-based app

Trial design

Primary purpose

Basic Science



Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Single Blind

0 participants in 2 patient groups

Training Group
Experimental group
Parents and children selected for the Training group will be lent a laptop for the duration of the at-home training, and assisted in opening the video game training exercise. Parents and children will be shown the game's operation and controls, including a home visit to the family's house to help them establish the game as part of routine. Parents will be asked to engage their children in the video game training exercise (on the laptop) for a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 times a week, for 4 weeks. The app will log all responses as well as time spent playing.
Behavioral: video game training exercise
Wait-List Control
No Intervention group
The families assigned to the wait-list control group will not receive access to the game until after 4 weeks and completion of the secondary round of testing at the lab. After the second lab visit and completion of the testing, families will be given access to the video game training exercise (on a loaned laptop), walked through the game's operation and controls, and encouraged to use it as often as they or their child like. If the child plays the game for a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 times per week, for 4 weeks, the family will be invited back to CARE for post-testing.

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from clinicaltrials.gov

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