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Eye tracking assessment of students with autism during behavioral interventions

Grant number: 19/18770-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2020
Effective date (End): February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal researcher:Priscila Benitez
Grantee:Mariana Pita Batista
Home Institution: Centro de Matemática, Computação e Cognição (CMCC). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/50909-8 - INCT 2014: Behavior, Cognition and Teaching (INCT-ECCE): relational learning and symbolic functioning, AP.TEM

Abstract

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) involves communication difficulties, as well as restricted and stereotyped interests, with or without cognitive deficits. Intervention programs for ASD are diverse and consider a multitude of factors for their elaboration, such as the definition of teaching behaviors and the establishment of strategies that will be used throughout the intervention. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has been the approach often described in the literature as an effective intervention for ASD students. The ABA aims to teach relevant socially specific behaviors, based on systematic and gradual procedures of pre-verbal and verbal skills, as well as reducing behavioral excesses. Information about visual processing of stimuli while performing specific tasks (such as identity, identification, and naming of figures) is an implicit measure essential to devising intervention strategies as well as reprogramming them. Measurements of visual tracking can be made by equipment called eye tracking. The objective of the present study is to evaluate implicit measures (time and number of gaze fixations for stimuli, time spent for saccadic movements and pupil's path) during the application of a teaching procedure outlined in the behavior-analytic principles, composed of tasks of identity with figures, identification and naming of figures, containing social and non-social stimuli with students with ASD. Three ASD students who are already participating in a broader proposal will be recruited. A multiple subject baseline design scheme will be employed. The general procedure will involve the planning of computerized tasks, followed by the recruitment, selection and application of assessments and baselines with the students, application of the teaching phases (of tasks using eye tracking) and replication of the assessment and baseline. Less diffuse visual screening responses and greater fixation on correct stimuli are expected as students will meet the learning criteria of the specific behaviors that will be taught during the behavioral intervention.

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