A recent Scientific American article describes some new research suggesting that autistic children do not so much avoid eye contact as they find it of little interest. That is to say, new evidence suggests that autistic kids perhaps do not find eye gaze aversive – at least not at an early age – but simply do not seek to initiate it or maintain it as we expect of children. But what does this distinction matter?
We believe this has important implications for interventions; to the degree these kids aren’t motivated to avoid eye contact, they might be even more prepared to respond positively to self-directed training that can help them to appreciate and use eye contact constructively in relating with others. For this, the Morphii platform can play a key role. Morphiis – their prominent eyes, in particular – are ideally-suited for integration into a mobile-phone or tablet application that could help people on the spectrum, through play and gamification, to progressively learn to attend to and communicate effectively with eye contact, along with facial expressions.
Here’s our request: if anyone reading this has ideas, connections, or resources to help bring such an application into the world, we want to hear from you. We’d love to collaborate with diagnosticians, researchers, parents, neurologists, ABA therapists, technologists, and people on the spectrum themselves.
Please reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s make something amazing happen.