eye tracking autism
Eye-tracking measures could help make the right autism diagnosis sooner

One of the main hurdles in Autism diagnosis is the extended time it takes for assessments to be completed. This delay primarily stems from the demand for evaluations surpassing the number of specialists.

To overcome this issue, researchers are trying to develop innovative community-based care delivery models.

One example involves using eye-tracking biological markers to test for Autism. According to some researchers, this approach has several advantages, including the fact that it’s non-invasive.

A recent Autism eye-tracking test & its effectiveness.

A team of scientists recently sampled a total of 146 individuals, ranging in age from 14 to 48 months. Data from 146 were deemed suitable for analysis based on eye-tracking metrics.  The team utilized different eye-tracking tests to measure non-social preference, attentional disengagement, tonic pupil size, oculomotor metrics, and passive visual exploration.

The outcome

Six measures that track eye movements were associated with outcomes that are commonly used to diagnose autism. These measures include preference for non-social stimuli, percentage of time spent without shifting focus, latency and intensity of pupil response, as well as the lengths of fixation during both rest and exploration.

In other words, certain patterns in eye movements have been correlated with the severity of autism, developmental levels, and adaptive skills.

For example, individuals with autism who have a higher preference for non-social stimuli tend to score lower on tests that measure cognitive and adaptive abilities compared to those without autism.  This relationship was not found in the group without autism.

These findings highlight the potential for eye-tracking methodologies to serve as a supplementary tool in the diagnosis of autism, particularly in settings where access to specialized neurodevelopmental care is limited. By integrating eye-tracking data with the assessments conducted by primary care physicians, the diagnostic process can become more robust and comprehensive.

As for the future, continued research in this area can help expand our understanding of how eye movements can inform autism diagnoses and potentially lead to earlier interventions for individuals on the spectrum.

The implication

The fruitfulness of such multimethod approaches encourages increased access to speedy and accurate diagnoses, thus reducing the disparity in diagnosis rates among different demographics, particularly in underserved populations.

Autism Support and Treatment

At Illinois Autism Center, we understand the importance of early intervention and strive to provide timely services to improve outcomes for ASD individuals.

Our goal is to empower individuals with autism and their families by providing them with the tools and support they need to thrive. For more information on our services, check out this page.