Attention and Social Attention in Autism
One of the earliest developmental markers of autism is a lack of attention sharing with other people. This is shown in a range of clinical symptoms including impairments in mutual gaze, gaze following and pointing. In this talk, I will discuss evidence for early social attention impairments, examining the scope and limitations of this difficulty. Research indicates that for young children with autism, social attention impairments may profoundly affect the development of symbolic abilities, language acquisition and higher-level information processing. Older children and adults are able to overcome social attention difficulties with age, yet evidence from our eye-tracking studies shows that subtle atypicalities in the visual processing of social information still remain.