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Breakthrough in autism spectrum disorder social interaction research

Dr Daniel Skorich is a psychology researcher at the University of Queensland. He has been researching autism spectrum disorders and has published a paper that shows the relationship between clusters of social interaction characteristics that were previously thought to be unconnected.

“Autism is a multi-faceted disorder characterised by distinct clusters of features,” Skorich said. “One of these clusters relates to the ability to share attention with others, and to focus attention on the objects or events on which someone else is focused. People with ASD show a decreased tendency to do this.

“A second cluster is related to information processing, where people with ASD process information in a less integrated manner, referred to as ‘weak central coherence’.

“Our research suggests that weak central coherence actually causes the shared attention difficulties.”

Early Learning Review spoke with Skorich about his research and its findings. If you would like to read the full report, it is published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

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