Brief report: pointing cues facilitate word learning in children with autism spectrum disorder.

Research paper by Hironori H Akechi, Yukiko Y Kikuchi, Yoshikuni Y Tojo, Hiroo H Osanai, Toshikazu T Hasegawa

Indexed on: 31 May '12Published on: 31 May '12Published in: Journal of autism and developmental disorders


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.