Perceptual factors influence visual search for meaningful symbols in individuals with intellectual disabilities and Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorders

Krista M. Wilkinson, William J. McIlvane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems often supplement oral communication for individuals with intellectual and communication disabilities. Research with preschoolers without disabilities has demonstrated that two visual-perceptual factors influence speed and/or accuracy of finding a target: the internal color and spatial organization of symbols. Twelve participants with Down syndrome and 12 with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) completed two search tasks. In one, the symbols were clustered by internal color; in the other, the identical symbols had no arrangement cue. Visual search was superior in participants with ASDs compared to those with Down syndrome. In both groups, responses were significantly faster when the symbols were clustered by internal color. Construction of aided AAC displays may benefit from attention to their physical and perceptual features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-364
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Volume118
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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