Educational treatment to support social development of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an important topic in developmental psychiatry. However, it remains difficult to objectively quantify the socio-emotional development of ASD children. To address this problem, we developed a novel analytical method that assesses subjects’ complex behaviors using multivariate analysis, 'Behavior Output analysis for Quantitative Emotional State Translation’ (BOUQUET). Here, we examine the potential for psycho-cognitive ASD therapy based on comparative evaluations of clinical (human) and experimental (animal) models. Our observations of ASD children (vs. their normally developing siblings) and the domestic chick in socio-sensory deprivation models show the importance of unimodal sensory stimulation, particularly important for tactile- and auditory-biased socialization. Identifying psycho-cognitive elements in early neural development, human newborn infants in neonatal intensive care unit as well as a New World monkey, the common marmoset, also prompted us to focus on the development of voluntary movement against gravity. In summary, striking behavioral similarities between children with ASD and domestic chicks’ socio-sensory deprivation models support the role of multimodal sensory-motor integration as a prerequisite step for normal development of socio-emotional and psycho-cognitive functions. Data obtained in the common marmoset model also suggest that switching from primitive anti-gravity reflexes to complex voluntary movement may be a critical milestone for psycho-cognitive development. Combining clinical findings with these animal models, and using multivariate integrative analyses may facilitate the development of effective interventions to improve social functions in infants and in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
- Multimodal sensory-motor integration
- Multivariate analyses
- Neural development
- Voluntary movements