Preliminary Investigation of Eye Gaze on Visual Scene Displays with a Navigation Menu by Individuals with Typical Development and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is defined as an integrated group of components including the symbols, aids, strategies, and techniques used by individuals to enhance communication. AAC interventions support the development of a wide variety of communicative outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs. Visual Scene Displays (VSDs) are a form of AAC display in which language concepts are embedded into a photograph of a naturalistic event. They provide a high level of contextual support by portraying events, people, actions, and objects within the context that they occur or exist. Because VSDs are typically accessed via the visual modality, it is critical to understand how individuals that use AAC attend to, perceive, and make sense of the visual information on the display. In other words, understanding visual-cognitive processing of VSDs will inform effective communication display design, resulting in more effective and efficient AAC interventions. Previous research has indicated that humans in photographs attract visual attention from individuals with typical development and autism spectrum disorders. This investigation furthers previous research by examining gaze fixation patterns on actual communication displays that contain a main VSD and a navigation menu bar. On a VSD communication system, the navigation bar would serve to change to a different communicative display in order to communicate about a different object or action. Participants in the present investigation include 5 school-aged children with autism spectrum disorders and a comparison control group of 13 adolescents and adults with typical development. Eye gaze patterns were examined during two viewing conditions: free viewing and cued viewing. During the free viewing condition, participants were given no instruction. During the cued viewing condition, participants were instructed to look at a particular photograph within the menu bar. Preliminary results indicate that across groups, individuals are spending a greater amount of time attending to children and objects of interest within photographs during free viewing, compared to items in the background. Participants across groups spend more time fixating on the navigation bar than the VSD in cued viewing conditions. Additionally, more time is spent on the target photograph relative to the other photographs in the bar during cued viewing. Individuals with typical development demonstrate a more accurate and efficient search to arrive at the target photograph during cued viewing compared to individuals with autism. The current investigation will also extend to include individuals with Down syndrome and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.



Work Title Preliminary Investigation of Eye Gaze on Visual Scene Displays with a Navigation Menu by Individuals with Typical Development and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Penn State
  1. O'Neill, Tara Anne
  1. eye-tracking
  2. AAC
  3. gaze patterns
  4. visual scene display
License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
Work Type Poster
  1. Light, Janice
  2. Neumann, Emily
  3. Wilkinson, Krista
Deposited February 29, 2016




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