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    Disengagement of visual attention in infancy is associated with emerging autism in toddlerhood

    Elsabbagh, Mayada and Fernandes, J. and Webb, S.J. and Dawson, G. and Charman, T. and Johnson, Mark H. (2013) Disengagement of visual attention in infancy is associated with emerging autism in toddlerhood. Biological Psychiatry 74 (3), pp. 189-194. ISSN 0006-3223.

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    Background: Early emerging characteristics of visual orienting have been associated with a wide range of typical and atypical developmental outcomes. In the current study, we examined the development of visual disengagement in infants at risk for autism. Methods: We measured the efficiency of disengaging from a central visual stimulus to orient to a peripheral one in a cohort of 104 infants with and without familial risk for autism by virtue of having an older sibling with autism. Results: At 7 months of age, disengagement was not robustly associated with later diagnostic outcomes. However, by 14 months, longer latencies to disengage in the subset of the risk group later diagnosed with autism was observed relative to other infants at risk and the low-risk control group. Moreover, between 7 months and 14 months, infants who were later diagnosed with autism at 36 months showed no consistent increases in the speed and flexibility of visual orienting. However, the latter developmental effect also characterized those infants who exhibited some form of developmental concerns (but not meeting criteria for autism) at 36 months. Conclusions: Infants who develop autism or other developmental concerns show atypicality in the development of visual attention skills from the first year of life.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Autism, disengagement, familial risk, infant, prospective study, visual attention
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2013 07:57
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:01


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