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J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 Apr;43(4):841-50. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1623-8.

Eye-hand coordination in children with high functioning autism and Asperger's disorder using a gap-overlap paradigm.

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  • 1Child Psychiatry Unit, Eugenio Medea Scientific Institute, Associazione La Nostra Famiglia, v. Don Luigi Monza 20, 23842, Bosisio Parini, Lecco, Italy.


We investigated eye-hand coordination in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in comparison with age-matched normally developing peers. The eye-hand correlation was measured by putting fixation latencies in relation with pointing and key pressing responses in visual detection tasks where a gap-overlap paradigm was used and compared to fixation latencies in absence of manual response. ASD patients showed less efficient eye-hand coordination, which was particularly evident when pointing towards a target was being fixated. The data of normally developing participants confirmed that manual gap effects are more likely for more complex hand movements. An important discrepancy was discovered in participants with ASD: beside normal eye gap effects, they showed no concurrent hand gap effects when pointing to targets. This result has been interpreted as a further sign of inefficient eye-hand coordination in this patient population.

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