Thursday, October 01, 2009
Clinic Notes: Body Language and Autism
Several years ago I published an article titled, "What Horses Tell Us About Autism." (Available at www.aba4autism.com). In my clinic I had noticed that when given directions children with autism seem to respond much like horses to body language and tone of voice. If the caregiver is hesitant or indicates nonverbally that they do not expect the child to follow directions then the child does not. And vice versa. A recent study in the UK at Durham University investigated the way adults with autism see and/or process body language and then infer inner feeling and emotions. When shown video clips without sound or facial movements the adults had difficulty interpreting emotion even when it was "obvious" such as shaking a fist. As the authors point out this could greatly effect daily social interactions.