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Facial Processing Delayed in Children with Autism

By Shana R. Spindler, Ph.D. on January 5, 2012


Overview: According to a new study published in the Nov/Dec issue of Child Development, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is associated with developmental delays in facial processing.


Background: Researchers from the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute compared brain activity in 18- to 47-month-old children with ASD to the brain activity of 12- to 30-month-old typically developing children while the children viewed images of faces.


What's new: According to the researchers, the neural response of the children with ASD was similar to the neural response of younger, typically developing children. When the researchers performed a follow-up exam one year later, the children with ASD showed neural responses similar to the children without ASD.


Why it's important: This study suggests that children with autism have a developmental delay in facial processing.


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