Attending to Attention Among Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Perspectives on Strengths, Weaknesses, and Goodness-of-Fit

Throughout the lifespan, where and how visual attention is allocated affects what we learn about the world, how we interact with others, and how we plan goal-directed behaviors. Several “atypicalities” in visual attention are cited among persons with ASD. Under some circumstances, such as visual search, this atypicality takes the form of enhanced performance. In other circumstances, such as attentional disengagement, the abnormality is characterized as impairment. But in many other aspects of visual attention, the differences that emerge between individuals with autism can simply be identified as superior or inferior. For example, the processes involved in the modulation of attentional focus, such as needed under varying conditions of perceptual load or when the task necessitates efficient attending to target information in dynamic complex environments, can involve diminished performance in one circumstance and enhanced performance on another. Across all these permutations of strengths and weaknesses, the understanding of the subtle nuances of attentional processing provides considerable insight into context-specific cognitive and social styles and level of performance of persons with ASD. In this panel, we will explore the nuances of visual attention of persons with ASD within the frameworks of both strength and weakness within the demands of the environment.
Thursday, May 14, 2015: 10:30 AM-12:30 PM
Grand Ballroom D (Grand America Hotel)
Panel Chair:
O. Landry
11:30 AM
Challenging the Myth of Attentional Overfocus Among Persons with Autism Sprectrum Disorder
J. A. Burack D. A. Brodeur J. Stewart J. Querengesser O. Landry