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Feb 16
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by Doug Goldberg

As I started my normal morning routine the other day something caught my attention.  Every morning like clockwork the television goes on the local morning news and I roll over, grab my blackberry, and start checking emails.  Normally, I focus mostly on the blackberry and the local morning show becomes white noise, but today something caught my attention.  The teaser said, “Coming up next a new Autism test which can help diagnosis Autism in infants”.  The blackberry went back on the nightstand and I waited patiently for the upcoming segment. 

What I saw was a study from the University of San Diego using cutting edge eye tracking software.  The study was conducted on a 110 children between the ages of 14 and 42 months.  Of that group of children, 51 were typical developing, 22 were developmentally delayed and 37 were on the autism spectrum.

Each child watched a computer screen with two sets of images while equipped with eye tracking software.  The image on the right side of the screen was moving shapes like you would see for a screen saver, while the images on the left side of the screen were those of people performing various activities.

The results according to an article in the PsyPost were:

“In this study, 40 percent of toddlers with ASD spent significantly more time fixating on moving geometric patterns compared with 9.9 percent in the DD group and 1.9 percent of TD children. The other 60 percent of toddlers with ASD performed similarly to their DD and TD peers, showing a preference for social movement. If a toddler spent more than 69 percent of the time fixating on geometric patterns, ASD could be predicted 100 percent of the time.”

Below is the actual video used in the University of San Diego Study: 

I found this study to be very interesting and can't wait to see further reasearch to validate the finding from the University of San Diego.  If this technology can be used successfully it can help many children get the early intervention that is critical to their therapeutic success.  What are your thoughts on this new Autism test.  I want to hear from you.

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One Response to “New Autism Test: Eye Tracking with Video”

  1. I’d like to see the eye-tracking dots for a typically developing kid, too. I’m wondering if the length of time spent focusing on a particular spot has any significance.

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