Comprehensive assessment of visual perceptual skills in autism spectrum disorder

The purpose of the current study was to assess meaningful variability in visual-perceptual skills using a standardized assessment of visual perception, the Test of Visual Perceptual Skills (TVPS), across children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In addition to assessing overall accuracy across subtests of the TVPS, we also assessed response variability at the item-level, and the linear relationship between quantitative measures of ASD symptoms, task performance, and item-level variance. We report a significant linear relationship between ASD features and performance on the TVPS Figure Ground subtest. Additionally, results of an item-level analysis point to a significant relationship between within-task variability on the Figure Ground subtest and quantitative ASD traits, with a less variable response pattern being associated with increased ASD symptoms. Findings presented here suggest variability in perceptual processing across ASD may be influenced by individual differences in trait distribution.

Keywords: TVPS; autism; global-local processing; individual differences; visual perception.