Kids with Autism ‘Catch’ Yawns If Prompted to Look at Facial Features

Study counters idea that lack of empathy is why people with ASD fail to mirror yawns; implications for behavioral therapy

Researchers found that children with autism “caught” yawns as often as did other children if they were first prompted to look at the eye or mouth area of a person in a video immediately before she yawned.Infectious yawning is a 

Infectious yawning is a near-universal experience. Several studies have shown that individuals with autism don’t readily “catch yawns.” This led some researchers to blame an autism-related lack of empathy.

A new study, published in the journal Autism Research and Treatment,suggests a different reason: Children with autism tend to miss out on “social yawning” because they’re not looking at facial cues.