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Objective: The aim of this study is to compare the screen-viewing habits in a clinical sample of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their typically developed (TD) siblings.
Methods: The principal outcome for this study includes the age at which screen viewing started, duration of screen viewing and the duration of interaction with family members . A thorough clinical assessment, the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS),TV viewing habit questionnaire, were used in assessment.
Results: In a total of 108 children (age range=2-17 years; mean=7.42, SD=3.28), The ASD group started screen viewing at a younger age (less than 6 months was 50.9% for ASD group and 12.7% for TD group). The mean screen viewing time of the children with ASD was higher (4.21 ± 1.21 h/day) than that of the TD children (1.90 ± 1.35 h/day), p=0.045, and duration of playtime with mothers significantly differed between the groups p=0.013.
Conclusion: ASD group has longer screen viewing time, started screen viewing at a younger age and spent less playing time with their mothers than their TD siblings. Further studies are required to investigate whether forbidding children under age of two from exposure to screen can reduce ASD incidence.