Can Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders “Hear” a Speaking Face?
This study used eye-tracking methodology to assess audiovisual speech perception in 26 children ranging in age from 5 to 15 years, half with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and half with typical development. Given the characteristic reduction in gaze to the faces of others in children with ASD, it was hypothesized that they would show reduced influence of visual information on heard speech. Responses were compared on a set of auditory, visual, and audiovisual speech perception tasks. Even when fixated on the face of the speaker, children with ASD were less visually influenced than typical development controls. This indicates fundamental differences in the processing of audiovisual speech in children with ASD, which may contribute to their language and communication impairments.
from Child Development