Thursday, October 24, 2013

Study: Peers judge children with autism based on facial expression

A study released by SAGE Publications and the National Autistic Society, U.K., has found that slower development by children with autism in facial expressivity marks them out among their peers.

At Disability Scoop, Michelle Diament highlights the rate at which typically-developing children form impressions of children with autism: in as few as 30 seconds according to study findings.

During the study, adults and typically-developing children viewed a film of other children, some of whom had autism. The adults rated children on the autism spectrum as “less expressive” than typically-developing children.

Child study participants rated the children with autism as less trustworthy than other children in the video. Study participants were not told that some children in the video were on the autism spectrum.

Child raters were less likely to say that they wanted to play or be friends with video subjects who were on the autism spectrum.

The findings are highly significant to this blogger, who was ostracized by her peers during her own school experience. “Thirty seconds” seems about right; the ostracism began during my very first day of kindergarten.

I second the urgings of lead scholar Steven Stagg of Anglia Ruskin University, that schools must educate typically-developing children about autism to break through negative impressions.

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