|Addressing Gaze Behavior in Toddlers with Autism|
|Sunday, May 25, 2014|
|11:00 AM–11:50 AM |
|W184a (McCormick Place Convention Center)|
|Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research|
|Chair: Ivana Krstovska-Guerrero (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)|
|Discussant: Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)|
|CE Instructor: Ivana Krstovska-Guerrero, M.A.|
Gaze behavior (i.e., gaze shifting with eye contact; GS & EC) is a fundamental part of developing early social communication in young children. Gaze behavior is impaired in children with autism across both requesting and joint attention (JA) functions. These early impairments negatively impact social communication development. GS & EC has not been addressed across both requesting and JA functions and both responder and initiator roles. In two studies, we used multiple baseline probe across participants designs to examine the effectiveness of prompting and reinforcement to teach GS & EC in the context of a sample of requesting and JA situations to seven toddlers with autism. All participants demonstrated acquisition of GS & EC across requesting and JA with generalization to a repertoire of related social communication skills and interactions with children?s mothers and collateral changes in autistic symptomatology. Results suggest that GS & EC may be a pivotal skill and may need to be taught to toddlers with autism as soon as they enter the early intervention system.
|Keyword(s): autism, gaze behavior, joint attention, requesting|
Gaze Behavior in the Context of Requesting and Joint Attention: Intervention for Toddlers with Autism
|IVANA KRSTOVSKA-GUERRERO (The Graduate Center, City University of New York ), Emily A. Jones (Queens College, The Graduate Center, City University of New York )|
Gaze behavior, including shifting gaze from an object to make eye contact with a social partner (GS & EC), is severely impaired in children with autism across social communication functions such as requesting and joint attention (JA). These early impairments negatively impact social communication development in autism. Children have been taught GS & EC to initiate JA, but GS & EC has not been consistently required during responding to JA bids or when requesting. In this study we used prompting and reinforcement to examine the effectiveness of teaching GS & EC in the context of responding to a request and initiating JA to four toddlers with autism, using a multiple baseline probe design across participants. Generalization to related social-communication skills was assessed as well as generalization across people and time and changes in autistic symptomatology. All participants showed acquisition of requesting and IJA with generalization to a repertoire of social communication skills and improvements in symptomatolgoy. Findings suggest that GS & EC may be a pivotal skill. Early intervention for toddlers with autism should emphasize teaching gaze behavior as early as children are diagnosed to maximize the benefits of early intervention.
Generalization of Gaze Shift across Responding and Initiating Roles of Requesting and Joint Attention
|MADIHA MUZAMMAL (Queens College, City University of New York), Emily A. Jones (Queens College, The Gradaute College, City University of New York)|
Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders show significant impairment in their use of gaze shift with eye contact in the roles of responding and initiating in both requesting and joint attention functions of social-communication. Shifting gaze from a toy to make eye contact with a social partner (GS & EC) is an early form of social-communication seen in typically developing infants, but significantly impaired in young children with autism. A multiple baseline probe design across participants was used to investigate the effects of prompting, prompt fading, and reinforcement to teach a sample of roles/functions using gaze shift as a common response form. All three children (ages, 2-3 years) diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder showed acquisition of GS & EC. Two children showed generalization across roles and functions; all three children showed generalization of GS to interactions with their mothers in a semi-structured play situation. Gaze shift and eye contact may be a pivotal skill with far reaching impact on social-communication and characteristics of autism.