The Early Development of Joint Attention in Infants with Autistic Disorder Using Home Video Observations and Parental Interview

  • Sally M. Clifford
  • Cheryl Dissanayake
Original Paper


The aim in the current study was to investigate the early development of joint attention, eye contact and affect during the first 2 years of life, by using retrospective parental interviews and analyses of home videos of infants who were later diagnosed with Autistic Disorder (AD). The 36 children with AD and the 27 matched control children were all aged between 3 and 5 years at recruitment. Reported anomalies in gaze and affect emerged in the children with AD as early as the first 6 months of life, generally becoming more severe just prior to the second birthday. Video data confirmed these anomalies from as early as the first year. Joint attention impairments were found throughout the second year of life. The results suggest that early dyadic behaviours—eye contact and affect—may play a role in the joint attention impairment in AD.


Infancy Autistic Disorder Joint attention Eye contact Affect 



The research reported in this paper formed part of the first author’s doctoral dissertation, which was conducted under the supervision of the second author at La Trobe University. The authors would like to thank the families who gave their time to participate in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, Institute of Child HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.School of Psychological ScienceLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

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