This study opens the door for future research in communication
Helen Tager-Flusberg, director of the Center for Autism Research Excellence at Boston University, who was not involved in the study, pointed out that blind and deaf children can learn proper communication skills. She says, “We know that’s not a critical requirement.”
But that does not mean that it does not influence how fast a child can learn language skills. Rebecca Landa, director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, who was also not involved in the study, thinks that this paper is a good launching point for more research.
“This study is one of many studies that will need to be done to further peel back our understanding of language development in kids with autism,” she said. She also pointed out that the researchers should use the basics found here to compare preschoolers who pay attention to sensory cues and those who do not to see which group learns their language skills faster.
There is another avenue of research that might stem off of this study. Some of the researchers want to look into a potential physiological component to the reason why children with autism have an aversion to looking at the mouths and faces of other people.
One idea is that looking at another person’s mouth causes an uncomfortable increase in heart rate, which would deter the child with autism from watching other people and picking up the sensory cues.