Brief Report: Pointing Cues Facilitate Word Learning in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) reportedly have difficulty associating novel words to an object via the speaker’s gaze. It has also been suggested that their performance is related to their gaze duration on the object and improves when the object moves and becomes more salient. However, there is a possibility that they have only relied on the object’s movement and have not referenced the speaker’s cue (i.e. gaze direction). The current study with children with ASD and typically developing children aged 6–11 years demonstrated that adding another speaker’s cue (i.e. pointing) improves the performance of children with ASD. This suggests that additional speaker’s cues may help referential word learning in children with ASD.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Word learning Gaze Pointing Eye-tracking
We would like to acknowledge all the children, their parents and the teachers of Musashino Higashi Gakuen. We thank all the staffs for their assistance in data collection and thank Harumi Kobayashi and Masanori Kobayashi for the comments on earlier version of the draft, and all the members of Hasegawa Lab and Kobayashi Lab for their supports and the helpful discussions. This study was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS): Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows (2011090 and 2310946), JSPS: the 21st Century COE Program J05 “Center for Evolutionary Cognitive Sciences at the University of Tokyo” and JSPS: Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B; 19330210 and B; 21330166).
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