Development of visual sensorimotor systems and their cognitive mediation in autism

Yukari Takarae, Beatriz Luna, John A. Sweeney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with strong genetic components. Clinically, it is characterized by impairments in verbal and non-verbal communication and social interactions and the presence of stereotypical behaviors. A wide range of sensorimotor problems have been reported in autism, which include abnormalities in manual motor, postural, and oculomotor control. In this review, we focus on oculomotor impairments as a model system for investigating sensorimotor impairments and their cognitive control in this disorder. Basic aspects of sensorimotor control for saccadic and pursuit eye movements are impaired in this population. Development of visual systems that provide input to sensorimotor systems is also affected, and this may contribute to development of atypical visual sensorimotor behaviors. Cognitive mediation of sensorimotor systems is also impaired in autism. Maturation of brain systems that support cognitive control of eye movements appears to reach a developmental plateau earlier, and as a result, individuals with autism do not achieve the same developmental level of ability and performance in adulthood that is observed in typically developing individuals. Development of visual sensorimotor processing and its cognitive control in autism is heterogeneous, suggesting distinct patterns of atypical brain development in this disorder that may have different genetic etiology and clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Growth and Growth Monitoring in Health and Disease
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781441917959
ISBN (Print)9781441917942
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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