HACETTEPE UNIVERSITESI EGITIM FAKULTESI DERGISI-HACETTEPE UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, vol.36, no.4, pp.871-885, 2021 (ESCI)
Although research studies have demonstrated that children with ASD display impairments in their motor imitation skills, understanding underlying factors that can influence the imitation problems of children is complicated. Neuropsychological model, one of the current theoretical models, proposes that the visual attention of children with ASD directed towards people's motor actions may negatively affect these children's imitation performance. This study has been carried out based on this hypothesis to evaluate the differences of visual attention patterns of children with ASD and typically developing (TD) children via the use of eye tracking technology. A total of 84 children, 40 children with ASD and 44 children with TGG aged between 18 and 36 months participated in this study through the use of a comparative research model. A total of 84 young children aged between 18-36 months participated in the study, in that, 40 of them in the ASD group, and 44 of them in the TD group. Results of the study showed that children with ASD displayed significant differences in their eye tracking patterns when compared to TD children. Findings of the study indicated that the TD children were significantly looked more at the Face area and Movement area and there was no significant difference on the Movement area. Findings also suggested that TD children directed their visual attention first to Movement area, second to Face area and lastly to Outside area, whereas children with ASD directed their visual attention respectively to Outside area, Face area and the Movement area. Research findings were discussed, and suggestions for future research were provided.