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Autism. 2014 Aug;18(6):658-71. doi: 10.1177/1362361313493834. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

See what I see, do as I do: promoting joint attention and imitation in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder.

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Ghent University, Belgium
Ghent University, Belgium.


Since imitation and joint attention are both important abilities for young children and since children with autism spectrum disorder show a range of problems in these domains, imitation and joint attention are important targets for intervention. In this study, we examined the possibility of promoting imitation and joint attention by means of a training programme specifically designed for low-intensity, non-residential treatment. Two matched groups of 18 children each participated in the study. The experimental group, receiving the training programme, improved significantly more on joint attention than the group receiving only treatment as usual. Only the experimental group obtained a significantly higher imitation score during the post-test compared to the pre-test. This study shows that it is possible to promote joint attention with a low-intensity treatment programme. The results concerning imitation are more modest. Future replications should involve measures of stability and generalization.


autism spectrum disorder; imitation; intervention; joint attention; preschoolers; rehabilitation

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