Navigation Links
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact

Finding could offer doctors a chance to treat the disorder earlier,,

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- While poor eye contact has long been a suspected sign of possible autism, researchers at Yale University have used "eye-mapping technology" to prove that children with autism don't make eye contact like normally developing children do.

Published in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, the new research found that children with autism spent more time looking at an adult's mouth instead of gazing into the eyes.

"Just as the eyes are the window to the soul, the eyes are also a window into social development," said study senior author Ami Klin, director of the autism program at Yale University School of Medicine.

Klin said that by using eye-mapping technology, it's possible that a vulnerability for autism could be identified much earlier than is currently possible. And, he said, "The earlier we are able to identify children, the better it is, because early interventions make a difference in optimizing children's outcomes."

It's estimated that autism, a developmental disorder that disrupts communication and social interaction, affects about 3.4 out of every 1,000 children between the ages of 3 and 10, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Parents are generally the first to notice early signs of autism. The NIMH says that some known early signs that may indicate an autism spectrum disorder in a child include:

  • By age 1, doesn't babble, point or gesture.
  • Doesn't speak a single word by 16 months.
  • By age 2, hasn't combined two words.
  • Seems to lose language skills.
  • Interacts poorly socially.
  • Doesn't respond to his or her name.
  • Doesn't smile.
  • Makes poor eye contact.
  • Doesn't appear to know how to play with toys and may repeatedly line up toys or other objects.

For the new study, Klin and his colleagues, including Warren Jones, compared 15 children with autism to 36 typically developing children, and to another 15 children who were developmentally delayed but not autistic. All of the children were 2 years old.

The children were shown 10 videos of adults looking directly into the camera and mimicking caregiving and playing with the child. While the videos were running, the researchers used eye tracking to assess the child's visual fixation patterns.

They found that children with autism spent significantly less time looking at the eyes than did typically developing children or the developmentally delayed group. Autistic children looked at the eyes about 30 percent of the time, compared to nearly 55 percent for both of the other groups.

Children with autism spent almost 40 percent of the time looking at the mouth area, while children in the other groups only spent about 24 percent of the time looking at this area.

Eye fixation in children with autism also appeared to predict the level of social disability. Those who had greater social disabilities spent less time looking at the eye area, according to the study.

"We've always had a sense that children with autism don't make eye contact, but this study confirms it in a higher-tech way," said Cynthia Johnson, director of the autism center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Johnson said she'd like to see this study confirmed in a larger group of children. Klin added that he and his colleagues are currently conducting a prospective study in children at a higher risk of autism to see "if there's a derailment in the process of social engagement," and if so, when that happens.

More information

To learn more about the early signs of autism, visit the American Academy of Family Physicians' FamilyDoctor Web site.

SOURCES: Ami Klin, Ph.D., director, autism program, and Harris associate professor of child psychology and psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Cynthia Johnson, Ph.D., director, autism center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; August 2008 Archives of General Psychiatry

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Novel Imaging Technique Shows Gray Matter Increase in Brains of Autistic Children
2. Novel imaging technique shows gray matter increase in brains of autistic children
3. Autistic Children Have More Gray Matter in Brains
4. Working with children with autistic spectrum disorder: Psychoanalysis and neurobiology
5. Prenatal exposure to maternal antibodies linked to autistic behaviors in offspring
6. Muscle Weakness Found in Some Autistic Children
7. Autistic mannerisms reduced by sensory treatment
8. Autistic Kids More Likely to Have Parents With Mental Illness
9. Children of depressed moms do better when dad is involved, SLU researcher finds
10. High pollution linked to poor lung function growth in children in Mexico City
11. NYC-area 1st: Morgan Stanley Childrens Hospital performs transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Overland Park, KS (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... leader in retailers of Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United ... life, eyeglasses have become a way to both correct vision and make a fashion ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer ... through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading ... a one size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX ... Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over ... Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Canada (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional ... pursuit of success. In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high can ... risk more than just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association ... it will receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance ... 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... 2016 Story Highlights: ... within the health care industry is causing providers to ... , Deloitte offers a suite of solutions for health ... efficient cost optimization: labor resource analysis, revenue cycle optimization ... better outcomes and better economics ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016   Bay Area Lyme Foundation , ... Center for Tick Borne Illness , Harvard Medical ... Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and the ... five finalists of Lyme Innovation , the ... 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- Dehaier Medical Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: DHRM ... sells medical devices and wearable sleep respiratory products in ... agreement with Hongyuan Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. (hereinafter ... 2016, to develop Dehaier,s new Internet medical technology business. ... leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s sales platform to reach Dehaier,s ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: