Saccadic characteristics in autistic children

Stefano Pensiero, Franco Fabbro, Paola Michieletto, Agostino Accardo, Paolo Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some studies suggest that individuals with autism present abnormal saccadic eye movements due to an altered strategy for exploration of the surrounding environment. In this study, potential early abnormalities of saccadic movements were explored in 14 male children with autism (5- to 12-year-olds) and in 20 age-matched normal males. Only one patient showed clear abnormalities of the "main sequence"; all the other patients, although showing slight changes in saccadic eye movements, did not present classic deficits. Therefore our results did not confirm the presence of saccadic movement alterations in the early stage of autism. Nonetheless, tracts of saccadic initiation failure, continuous changes in saccadic velocity profiles, and instability of fixation were often observed in the autistic population. These findings could be the expression of an early brainstem impairment in autism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-158
Number of pages6
JournalFunctional Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Autism
  • Promotor system
  • Saccades

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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