John Rae | Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton, United Kingdom
The well-known impairments in the social use of eye-gaze by children with autism have been chiefly explored through experimental methods. The present study aims to contribute to the naturalistic analysis of social eye-gaze by applying Conversation Analysis to video recordings of three Finnish children with a diagnosis of autism, each interacting with familiar others in ordinary settings (total 6 hours). The analysis identifies two interactional environments where some children with autism show eye-gaze related competence with respect to gazing at their co-participants: these are when the child carries out an initiating action or a responsive action. We discuss how this qualitative analysis of interactional structure could be extended using quantitative methods and eye-tracking technology in order to develop a better understanding of the disorder. Keywords: Autism; eye-gaze; conversation analysis; social interaction; interactional competence
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