Sensory Challenges and Anxiety in Children with and without Autism

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Sensory Challenges and Anxiety in Children with and without Autism

Sensory Challenges and Anxiety in Children with and without Autism Sensory experiences have a significant impact on behavior throughout the lifespan, but particularly early in life. Some individuals have heightened and unusual reactions to sensory stimuli, such as particular sounds or textures. Dr. Carpenter will present research, which builds on a growing body of literature, linking early sensory hypersensitivity to anxiety and a number of additional behavioral challenges, namely sleep issues and irritability in both typical development, as well as in young children with autism.

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Presented by 
Kimberly L. H. Carpenter, Ph.D.
Kimberly L. H. Carpenter, Ph.D.
Duke University School of Medicine

Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Assistant Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

2015 Young Investigator Grant


Dr. Carpenter is a neurobiologist specializing in translational developmental neuroscience, with expertise in functional and structural neuroimaging in clinical and pediatric populations. Dr. Carpenter’s research focuses on three primary content areas: (A) The neuroscience of early childhood mental health, (B) Risk factors for psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders in preschool-age children, and (C) The development of new technologies for evidenced-based screening for neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders in young children. Through this work, she aims to increase access to, and provide a solid neurobiological foundation for, evidence-based screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism and associated psychiatric comorbidities in children from birth to 5 years of age.  

Dr. Carpenter’s research career has spanned multiple levels of neuroscience from animal models of disease to human post-mortem brain and neuroimaging studies. Throughout her training, Dr. Carpenter has always incorporated her background in basic neuroscience into the development and interpretation of human neuroimaging research. Since joining the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, Dr. Carpenter has overseen a number of projects focused on early detection, intervention, and the neurobiologic correlates of autism and associated comorbid psychiatric disorders. Dr. Carpenter has contributed to a number of peer reviewed articles, review papers, and book chapters on the involvement of social and cognitive neural networks in the neurobiological underpinnings of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. She is also the recipient of a 2015 NARSAD Young Investigator Award and a Career Development Institute in Psychiatry Awardee.

Dr. Carpenter has a Ph.D in Neurobiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a bachelor of science in biology with a minor in chemistry, and a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Moderated by
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host and executive producer of the series. The program, broadcast nationwide, is available online, and focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein served as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association from 2012 - 2023.

Dr. Borenstein is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and serves as the Chair of the Section of Psychiatry at the Academy. He also has served as the President of the New York State Psychiatric Association. Dr. Borenstein earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard and his medical degree at New York University.