Eye Gaze Fixations of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder during Electronic Storybook Reading
Evangelista, Andrianna L.
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Emergent literacy skills are critical to the development of later reading outcomes. Print knowledge, one of the domains of emergent literacy, has been shown to be one of the better predictors of school-age reading. Shared storybook reading is a common literacy practice that has been shown to give children opportunities to develop print knowledge. Little is known, however, about the quality of engagement in shared reading activities for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A number of students diagnosed with ASD are below grade level in reading. This may be due to characteristics of the disability, but it also may reflect the lack of appropriate instruction for this population. The purpose of the present study was to determine what 5 6-8 year old children with ASD attend to while viewing an electronic storybook. Using eye gaze analyses, this study also examined whether visual and auditory textual supports would influence the amount participants attended to text. Text was presented in 3 conditions: silently, read aloud, and read aloud while highlighted. It was predicted that participants would attend to pictures more than text, and they would pay more attention to text when it is read aloud and highlighted. Results did not support our hypotheses. No significant differences were found between the amount of time children with ASD attended to pictures compared to print. Furthermore, the amount of time children spent focused on print in each of the 3 conditions was not significantly different. The results of this preliminary study show that children with ASD may be using electronic storybooks in complex ways that need further investigation.