A Frown or a Smile? Children With Autism Can't Discern

May 7, 2007

When we have a conversation with someone, we not only hear what they say, we see what they say. Eyes can smolder or twinkle. Gazes can be direct or shifty. Reading these facial expressions gives context and meaning to the words we hear. In a report presented May 5 at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Seattle, researchers from UCLA showed that children with autism can't do this. They hear and they see, of course, but the areas of the brain that normally respond to such visual cues simply do not respond.