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Questions for Nordahl, Mello: Scans for Children with Autism

Research and Autism News News By State California Autism News

July 19, 2016- "Questions for Nordahl, Mello: Scans for Children with Autism"- In this article, behavioral analyst Melissa Mello and neurologist Christine Wu Nordahl, each of UC Davis, discuss a new approach for “coaxing” individuals on the autism spectrum who have sensory sensitivities into receiving MRIs, which are invaluable for autism research. Beginning with the premise that “mock MRI scans” alone would not be enough to sooth sensitivities, the team worked to familiarize individuals with autism with the scanning environment by breaking down the typical mock scanning process into incremental steps. Like most skills learned through ABA tactics, their approach involved learning each child’s needs and taking each step at his or her pace along with introducing favorite foods or toys as rewards. Another approach involved allowing the child to view a favorite video within the scanner, helping them to realize that the confined space was not too intimidating after all. The article includes  anecdotes from the study about how researchers utilized individualized approaches based upon a child’s specific needs.