Face-viewing patterns in young children with autism spectrum disorders: speaking up for the role of language comprehension

Åsberg Johnels, J., Gillberg, C. , Falck-Ytter, T. and Miniscalco, C. (2014) Face-viewing patterns in young children with autism spectrum disorders: speaking up for the role of language comprehension. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 57(6), pp. 2246-2252. (doi: 10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0268) (PMID:25029247)

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Abstract

Purpose: The aim was to examine whether viewing patterns toward the mouth, eyes, and nonmouth-noneyes areas differed between young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing (TD) children when viewing a person speaking. The role of language comprehension in such viewing patterns was also examined. Method: Eleven children with ASD (approximately 4.5 years old) and 29 TD toddlers (approximately 2.5 years old) participated. The groups were matched on language comprehension raw scores from the Reynell Developmental Language Scales III. All children viewed short films of a woman speaking while their eye movements were recorded with eye-tracking equipment. Results: Children with ASD spent proportionally less time viewing the mouth and more time viewing the nonmouth-noneyes areas. Time viewing the eyes did not differ between groups. Increased mouth viewing was associated with lower language comprehension in the group with ASD. Conclusion: Variability in language comprehension is an important factor to monitor when interpreting face-viewing patterns in young children with ASD, particularly with regard to mouth viewing. The results may help explain divergent findings in this field of research.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gillberg, Professor Christopher
Authors: Åsberg Johnels, J., Gillberg, C., Falck-Ytter, T., and Miniscalco, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Publisher:American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ISSN:1092-4388
ISSN (Online):1558-9102

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