Interview: Analyzing eye movements to understand autism

In this interview Thomas Frazier from Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism explains how he is employing eye tracking to understand differences in children with autism and similar neurodevelopmental disorders.
Interview: Analyzing eye movements to understand autism
Thomas Frazier, Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism, my.clevelandclinic.org

Could you please give a brief description of the project you are currently working on?

My lab is focused on research which intends to develop markers of autism symptoms and diagnosis.

What benefits does eye tracking bring to your research?

Eye tracking is crucial to our work. Differences in attention to social and non-social stimuli in children and adults with autism has been demonstrated for some time.

Capturing these differences quickly and in an objective way will allow us to supplement existing behavioral measures and improve the diagnostic process without adding substantial burden to the patients. Clinicians want objective markers that they can integrate with clinical judgment and other measures.

Have there been specific features of your SMI system that have been particularly useful to you throughout your research?

Yes. First, remote eye gaze tracking is essential for very young and more impaired children – which is the population that we are most focused on because early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is crucial for enhancing patient outcomes. Young and more impaired children cannot engage with other methods of eye gaze collection.

Secondly, the accurate and simple calibration methods which SMI offers are very user-friendly for this population.

Third, analysis of the data is made much easier by the BeGaze analysis software. It provides a number of unique aspects of eye gaze, so we are actually beginning to show validity in detecting autism spectrum disorder in young children.

Interview: Analyzing eye movements to understand autism
Thomas Frazier, Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism, my.clevelandclinic.org
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