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Title: Visuo-perceptual correlates of autistic trait expression in children with Fragile X syndrome and Down Syndrome
Author: Glennon, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 5550
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a clinical umbrella term used to reference a neurodevelopmental profile of socio-communicative impairment and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour (RRB). In most cases, ASD is 'idiopathic' meaning that genetic aetiology is poorly defined. In other cases, ASD may present in genetic syndrome groups of known aetiology, like Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and Down syndrome (DS). There is research to suggest that these 'syndromic' forms of ASD manifest distinctly in terms of behavioural symptomatology; however, beyond this level of description, we know little of the nature of these comorbidities. Visuo-perceptual irregularities are well documented in idiopathic ASD populations; in particular, spatial orienting and visual search abilities are known to be affected. Prior to this doctorate research, it remained to be seen whether behavioural manifestations of autistic-like impairment in FXS and DS were characterised by similar visuo-perceptual abnormalities. This thesis presents a series of eye-tracking studies designed to characterise syndromic forms of ASD according to associated visuo-perceptual mechanism. The work that is presented here examines the visuo-perceptual correlates of autistic trait expression in neuro-typical (NT) children (n=56) and in three clinical paediatric cohorts: idiopathic ASD (n=16), FXS (n=7) and DS (n=15), focusing specifically on attentional disengagement and visual search performance. The results are consistent with the notion of syndrome-specific profiles of autistic-like impairment, extending the literature and elucidating the complex heterogeneity that is associated with ASD. Moreover, they illustrate the value of progressing beyond superficial behavioural indices of autistic-like impairment to examine, in a more fine-grained way, the neurocognitive features underpinning comorbid expressions of autistic-like deficit.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available