Review of Novel Communication Techniques for Autistic Individuals Using Eye-Gaze Tracking as an Indicator of Cognition
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For the 1 in 68 individuals in the United States on the autism spectrum, the use of interactive tools and technologies has grown significantly over the past few years to augment daily living capabilities. For the subset of these individuals who are unable to communicate verbally, researchers are beginning to explore how applications of these technologies can be used to augment existing communication capabilities. This research explores how one such therapy method, called Spelling To Communicate (S2C), can be quantified, using eye-gaze tracking techniques, to pave the way for future studies that could demonstrate cognitive competence in these non-verbal individuals. With a small-scale pilot examination to measure the fixation in eye movements while spelling on a letter board, this research provides insights into the various approaches and challenges associated with distinguishing independent communication from prompted communication when spelling with a partner. The results from this study suggest that through the use of eye-gaze tracking, S2C may be a viable technique to enable independent communication; however, more research is required to confirm this hypothesis.