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Symbolic Understanding and Word–Picture–Referent Mapping from iPads in Autism Spectrum Condition: The Roles of Iconicity and Engagement

Authors
  • Wainwright, Bethany R.1
  • Allen, Melissa L.2
  • Cain, Kate1
  • 1 Lancaster University,
  • 2 University of Bristol,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Feb 08, 2020
Volume
50
Issue
8
Pages
2941–2956
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-020-04404-8
PMID: 32036494
PMCID: PMC7374469
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

We investigated symbolic understanding, word–picture–referent mapping, and engagement in children with autism spectrum condition (ASC) and ability-matched typically developing children. Participants viewed coloured pictorial symbols of a novel object (given a novel name) on an iPad in one of three conditions: static 2D images and either automatically or manually rotating images (providing a three-dimensional context). We found no significant difference in word–picture–referent mapping between groups and conditions, however, children who manually rotated the picture had greater on-screen looking time compared to other conditions. Greater visual attention related to more successful word–picture–referent mapping only for the children with ASC. Interactive iPad tasks may increase visual attention in both typical and atypical populations and greater visual attention may benefit word–picture–referent mapping in ASC.

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