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Autistic infants 'unable to read body language'

Report sheds new light on how toddlers with autism communicate.
Toddlers with autism tend to pay more attention to sounds and motion when observing other people rather than body actions or gestures, research has found.

A new study carried out at the Yale School of Medicine shows that autistic two-year-olds only recognise movements that are physically synchronous with sounds and not those associated with human social interaction or body language.

Therefore, rather than reading the eyes for information, children with autism focus on the relation between lip motion and speech sounds, the experts suggest.

Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Ami Klin, Harris associate professor of child psychology at Yale, said: "This suggests that from very early in life, children with autism are seeking experiences in the physical rather than the social world.

"And this in turn has far-reaching implications for the development of social mind and brain."

According to the National Autistic Society, there are more than half a million people with autism currently living in the UK.

Other conditions such as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can often be linked to autism.

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