Research Goals. The goal of this research is to examine sensitivity to visual speech information in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This project uses innovative eye tracking methodology to evaluate the degree to which children with ASD integrate audiovisual (AV) speech in comparison to typically developing (TD) controls in clear and noisy listening conditions, to examine ASD and TD perceivers’ ability to detect asynchrony in AV speech (which is related to AV integration in typical perceivers) and to assess the gaze behavior of ASD and TD perceivers to a speaker’s face. The careful examination of sensitivity to visual information in speech has important practical and theoretical implications for the understanding of perceptual processing of speech in children with ASD, including the identification and characterization of AV integration deficits and the design of targeted interventions.
Current Status. Funding for three years began on 9/1/06. Total costs for the second year are $82,857.