School of Psychology News & events

Research Summary

Leekam, S, Erichsen, J, Millington, A, Clarke, A (2013 - 2014) Visual attention control in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. Wellcome Trust. £49,668.

This project will bring together research and clinical expertise in a new interdisciplinary collaboration between Psychology, Optometry and Clinical Genetics. Its main goal is to identify the clinical and psychological characteristics of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders who respond to a novel training method designed to improve visual attention. The seedcorn project will develop training methods for the first time for children with neurodevelopmental disorders with severe developmental delays (low functioning ASD and Rett syndrome). These children have skill deficits, which prevent the use of traditional forms of learning, but may still show some capacity for learning. The proposed research is important as it will identify how individual characteristics of developmental level, clinical symptomatology and specific visual impairments affect learning potential and outcome. Detailed psychological, clinical and visual assessment will enable the design of tailored interventions to assist future learning. This research is timely and is a unique opportunity to apply advances in eye tracking technology in an area where there is currently an absence of systematic cognitive assessment and intervention.  There are expected to be benefits for both ASD and Rett clinical populations and the feasibility work here will provide pilot data for a future MRC/ESRC grant application.