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Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) attend typically to faces and objects presented within their picture communication systems

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Debbie Riby, Professor Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon


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BackgroundChildren with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may require interventions for communication difficulties. One type of intervention is picture communication symbols which are proposed to improve comprehension of linguistic input for children with ASD. However, atypical attention to faces and objects is widely reported across the autism spectrum for several types of stimuli.MethodIn this study we used eye-tracking methodology to explore fixation duration and time taken to fixate on the object and face areas within picture communication symbols. Twenty-one children with ASD were compared with typically developing matched groups.ResultsChildren with ASD were shown to have similar fixation patterns on face and object areas compared with typically developing matched groups.ConclusionsIt is proposed that children with ASD attend to the images in a manner that does not differentiate them from typically developing individuals. Therefore children with and without autism have the same opportunity to encode the available information. We discuss what this may imply for interventions using picture symbols.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gillespie-Smith K, Riby DM, Hancock PJB, Doherty-Sneddon G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Intellectual Disability Research

Year: 2014

Volume: 58

Issue: 5

Pages: 459-470

Print publication date: 19/04/2014

ISSN (print): 0964-2633

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2788

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/jir.12043


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