A recent study has found that autistic children can learn new words like any neuro-typical or non-autistic child, by observing the speaker's gaze as they name a particular object. The test has proved that children with autism spectrum disorder are capable to score as much as their non-autistic peers in learning words. In an independent test of learning new words, autistic children scored 75% of the time, compared to non-autistic children who notched up 78%.
While autism spectrum disorder can't be easily explained, most of the children having such a condition, have some difficulty to make eye contact with people. Therapists and counsellors, for this reason, are taught to encourage autistic children make eye contact. For instance, they could be repeatedly told to "look at me" while giving instructions. Of late, apps like "What's the Expression" and "Make Sentences" have proved to be helpful to autistic children in learning communication.
Neuro-typical children, as young as 18 months, look at the person's eyes and try to follow their gaze to associate a word with the object to which the person is talking about.
A lot of hard work goes into making a child learn words. Whether autistic or non-autistic, learning new words is an important skill. One has to look at the other person, monitor their eye movement and body language to understand what they actually mean. The findings of the study have enthused researchers. It means that parents and teachers may not have to put that extra effort after all to make autistic children learn words and pick up communication skills. If eye gaze is used in a meaningful way along with a consistent pattern, autistic kids will be able to pick them up on their own. Supplementing that with the "What's the Expression" and "Make Sentences" apps will help them better their communication.
Over the past few years, much stride has been made in the world of digital devices that can have a positive impact on the lives of children having autism spectrum disorder. With iPads and tabs making huge inroads in our lives, apps that learn on these devices are more preferred today than the bulky speech-therapy devices of earlier years. Apps have been especially helpful for autistic kids, primarily because of their penchant to do repeated things. Besides, the interactive nature of autism apps can retain the attention of autistic children for much longer time than any other assistive device. As a result, apps like "What's the Expression" and "Make Sentences" have become extremely helpful.