Non-verbal clues may be missed by autistic children when listening to what adults have to say to them. This is the suggestion of new research published in the journal Developmental Science and presented at the British Science Association, which found looking away might result in young people with autism not catching certain aspects of a conversation, BBC News reports.
Investigators from Durham and Northumbria Universities discovered that people will often look away from others when thinking, but focus on their face when talking to them. It was put forward that this may be one reason why children with autism sometimes have difficulty when it comes to social interaction.
Lead author of the report Debbie Riby, a member of the British Psychological Society, said: “One of the really important things for teachers to be aware of is that we shouldn’t expect children to keep looking at us when they’re trying to think.”
She added this should be taken into account not only by those teaching a child with autism, but also typically developing pupils and those with Williams syndrome.