Understanding Attention and Intermodal Processing Difficulties in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Hooper, Marie Diane
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Problems with social orienting, attention, and intermodal processing (IMP) involving social events are considered to be important deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The present study aimed to better understand how difficulties in attention are associated with IMP difficulties in children with ASD using a novel eye-tracking experimental task. Six- to 16-year- old children with ASD were compared to age- and cognitive ability- matched peers while engaging in a task involving intermodal processing and attentional experimental measures. Overall, results showed that attention may not be uniformly impaired in ASD in relation to intermodal processing abilities. However, for typically developing children, shifting attention performance and intermodal processing may be linked. Explaining the attentional differences in relation to intermodal processing difficulties will contribute to the field of ASD research in order to inform early interventionists, researchers, and clinicians in treating social deficits in this population.