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Monday, August 3 • 11:30am - 12:30pm
04. Development of Eye Contact and its Relation to Social Skills Development

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This presentation highlights the critical role of social visual engagement – the way infants and toddlers look at, and in this way, learn about the social world around them, with particular focus on eye contact and eye looking. Data will be presented on measures of eye looking obtained through eye-tracking-based behavioral assays that quantify social engagement and social disabilities in autism. The results of these assays were used to generate "growth charts" of normative social visual engagement, and the deviations from the norm were taken as early indicators of risk for autism. These methods yielded high sensitivity and specificity for identification of infants later diagnosed with autism from data collected in the first 6 months of life. Eye-looking behaviors in the first year of life also predicted level of autistic social disability 2 to 3 years later. This mechanism of socialization is under stringent genetic control as revealed in a twin study, and is highly evolutionarily conserved, as revealed in analogous work with infant non-human primates. Collectively, these studies have led to a series of projects focused on the diagnostic utility of these new scientific tools and on the implications of this work for early treatment and interventions for children with autism and other developmental delays, to be covered in more detail in the second, lengthier presentation.

Credits: Act 48, SW, Psych, PT, OT, BACB, Infant/Toddler, ASHA

Session video removed upon presenter request.

Per The Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), all presentation content, including videos and text, are the property of the presenter or agencies that employ the presenter. No copies may be made of the presentation or any of its parts without the express written permission of the presenter or agencies that employ the presenter.

avatar for Ami Klin

Ami Klin

Professor, Emory University School of Medicine
Ami Klin, Ph.D. is the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Professor and Chief of the Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Emory University School of Medicine, and Director of the Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He obtained his Ph.D... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2020 11:30am - 12:30pm EDT