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Graduate Students

Student Name Here

Laura Soskey

Graduate Student
Entry Year: 2012-2013
Faculty Mentor(s): Loisa Bennetto

480 Meliora Hall
(585) 275-6160
Fax: (585) 273-1100

Research Overview

I am generally interested in studying the neurocognitive basis of development of social communication in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Specifically, my master’s thesis project characterized auditory spatial attention in children with ASD and investigated how acoustic complexity of speech sounds impacts spatial attention whether characteristic deficits in attentional orienting to speech are related to the acoustic complexity of speech sounds. We found that children with ASD have significantly more diffuse auditory spatial attention across

My current work focuses on using computational modeling to quantify the impact of stimulus predictability on attentional preferences in young children with ASD across two critical learning contexts—observing and interacting with the environment. My long-term goal is to understand how atypical attentional preferences may differentially impact learning of social communication in ASD. This work has implications for understanding etiology as well as early identification and treatment of ASD.

Selected Publications


  • Soskey, L., Allen, P., & Bennetto, L. Auditory Spatial Attention to Speech and Complex Non-speech Sounds in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (In preparation).
  • Soskey, L., Holcomb, P. J., & Midgley, K.J. (2016). Language Effects in Second-Language Learners: A Longitudinal Electrophysiological Study of Spanish Classroom Learning. Brain Research, 1646, 44-52.
  • Shoffner, J., Trommer, B., Thurm, A., Farmer, C., Langley, W., Soskey, L., Rodriguez, A., D'Souza, P., Spence, S., Hyland, K., & Swedo, S. (2016). CSF  Concentrations of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate in a Cohort of Young Children with Autism. Neurology, 86, 2258-2263.
  • Graf-Myles, J., Farmer, C., Thurm, A., Royster, C., Kahn, P., Soskey, L., Rothschild, L., & Swedo, S. (2013). Dietary Adequacy of Children with Autism Compared with Controls and the Impact of Restricted Diet. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 34, 449-459.

Professional Presentations

  • Soskey, L., Allen, P., Bennetto, L. (2016, May). "Auditory Spatial Attention and Symptom Severity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder." Poster presented at the 16th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research, Baltimore, MD.
  • Soskey, L., Allen, P., & Bennetto, L. (2015, April). "Auditory Spatial Attention to Speech and Complex Non-speech Sounds in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder." Poster presented at the 22nd Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
  • Pardo-Villamizar, C.A., Thurm, A., Luckenbaugh, D., Zea, A., Parra, B., Khan, H., Soskey, L., Sneller, M., & Swedo, S. (2011, November). Blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cellular immune phenotypes in patients with autism: Increased frequency of NK cells and T effector memory cells. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2011, Washington, D.C.
  • Soskey, L.,  Marti, C., Thurm, A., Joseph, L., Black, D., & Swedo, S. (2011). Measuring Cognitive Profiles of Children with Autism over Time. National Institute of Mental Health-IRP Annual Scientific Retreat 2011, Lancaster, PA.
  • Midgley, K.J., Soskey, L.N., Grainger, J., & Holcomb, P.J. (2011). Early vocabulary acquisition of L2 leads to rapid changes in electrophysical measures. The Bilingual Brain Symposium, 18th Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
  • Soskey, L., Midgley, K.J., Holcomb, P.J. (2010). Language Effects in Second Language Learners: a Longitudinal ERP Study. 17th Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting, Montreal, Canada.

Professional Honors and Awards

  • 2014-Present: Institutional Research Training Grant Fellow (T32 DC009974), NIDCD
  • 2014-Present: Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Fellowship, University of Rochester Medical Center
  • 2012-Present: Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Fellowship, University of Rochester
  • 2010-2012: Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award, NIMH, Bethesda, MD
  • 2010: Joanne Mary Sullivan Prize, Tufts University
  • 2010: Constantine Ghikas Prize in Romance Languages, Tufts University
  • 2010: Phi Beta Kappa, Tufts University
  • 2006-2010: Dean's List, Tufts University

Additional Information

    • Tufts University, B.S. 2010, Summa Cum Laude
    • Majors: Biopsychology, Spanish