, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 61-67

Abnormal Saccadic Eye Movements in Autistic Children

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Abstract

The saccadic eye movements, generated during a visual oddball task, of autistic children, normal children, children with attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity (ADDH), and dyslexic children were examined to determine whether autistic children differed from these other groups in saccadic frequency. Autistic children made more saccades during the presentation of frequent stimuli (than normals and ADDH children), and between stimulus presentations. Also, unlike the normal and dyslexic groups, their saccadic frequency did not depend on stimulus type. This abnormal pattern of saccades may negatively influence the ability to attend to stimuli, and thereby learning processes. Suggestions are made with respect to possible abnormalities in subcortical mechanisms involved in saccade generation.