Face-Viewing Patterns in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Speaking up for the Role of Language Comprehension 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 ... Research Note
Research Note  |   December 01, 2014
Face-Viewing Patterns in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Speaking up for the Role of Language Comprehension
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jakob Åsberg Johnels
    University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Christopher Gillberg
    University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Terje Falck-Ytter
    Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Carmela Miniscalco
    University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Jakob Åsberg Johnels: psyjaas@psy.gu.se
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Linda Watson
    Associate Editor: Linda Watson×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Normal Language Processing / Language / Research Notes
Research Note   |   December 01, 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, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2246-2252. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0268
History: Received October 1, 2013 , Revised March 31, 2014 , Accepted June 17, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2246-2252. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0268
History: Received October 1, 2013; Revised March 31, 2014; Accepted June 17, 2014

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.

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