Social origins of self-regulated attention during infancy and their disruption in autism spectrum disorder: Implications for early intervention.
To understand the complex relationships between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other frequently comorbid conditions, a growing number of studies have investigated the emergence of ASD during infancy. This research has suggested that symptoms of ASD and highly related comorbid conditions emerge from complex interactions between neurodevelopmental vulnerabilities and early environments, indicating that developing treatments to prevent ASD is highly challenging. However, it also suggests that attenuating the negative effects of ASD on future development once identified is possible. The present paper builds on this by conceptualizing developmental delays in nonsocial skills as the potential product of altered caregiver-infant interactions following the emergence of ASD during infancy. And, following emerging findings from caregiver-infant dyadic head-mounted eye-tracking (D-ET) research, it also suggests that a multiple pathway model of joint attention can provide mechanistic insights into how ASD alters the ability of caregiver and infant to create a context for infant learning. The potential for this view to inform early intervention is further discussed and illustrated through D-ET data collected prior to and following a brief, parent-mediated intervention for infant ASD. While promising, further research informing how a multiple pathway model of joint attention can inform ASD early intervention is needed.
Gaffrey, MS; Markert, S; Yu, C
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