Colored overlays enhance visual perceptual performance in children with autism spectrum disorders

Amanda Ludlow, Arnold J. Wilkins, Pam Heaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), together with controls
matched for age and ability participated in three experiments that assessed the
therapeutic benefit of colored overlays. The findings from the first experiment showed that a significantly greater proportion of children with ASD, than controls, increased reading speed when using a colored overlay. This finding was replicated in the second experiment which also showed that therapeutic benefits were only observed when participants were instructed to select colors that improved textual clarity and not when colors were selected on the basis simply of preference. In the final experiment, children were required to discriminate between pictorially presented objects with and without overlays self selected for improvements in clarity. Participants with ASD, both with and without concurrent intellectual impairment, showed significant gains in
performance when using an overlay. The beneficial effects of color overlays and the implications of these results for current neuropsychological models of ASD are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-515
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


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