Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience distinct physical changes – including a higher body mass index and advanced pubertal onset – that could heighten social stressors, according to research led by Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., Associate Director of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Psychology, was recently published in the December 2016 edition of the AMA Journal of Ethics. Her article, "Autism, Art, and Accessibility to Theater," discusses accessibility of the dramatic arts to those on the autism spectrum and uses an attributional model of stigma to explain potential differences in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior toward people with mental illness.
Two current studies by Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Psychology, and Kale Edmiston, Ph.D., a recent Vanderbilt Neuroscience graduate, highlight atypical physiological responses to social evaluative threat in adolescents with autism. In a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, male adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) showed differences in Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (a measure of the parasympathetic nervous system) indicating autonomic dysregulation.
Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, served as lead author on the paper "Changes in anxiety following a randomized control trial of a theatre-based intervention for youth with autism spectrum disorder," recently published ahead of print in the journal Autism. The randomized clinical trial reports that youth with autism spectrum disorder showed changes in anxiety following participation in a peer-mediated, theatre-based intervention.
Reduced sounds, brighter lights, and an opportunity to learn about the show ahead of time make plays a more pleasant experience for those with autism. But the most important thing is a non-judgmental environment. Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, is mentioned for her research on the effects of a theater-based form of therapy for children with autism.
Brain scans confirm significant differences in play behavior, brain activation patterns and stress levels in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as compared with typically developing children. In a first-of-its-kind study, Associate Professor of Psychiatry Blythe Corbett, Ph.D., and colleague Kale Edmiston examined social play exchanges on multiple levels, revealing associations among brain regions, behavior and arousal in children with ASD. The results were released in the journal Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience.