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J Autism Dev Disord. 2016 Feb;46(2):691-7. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2596-1.

Brief Report: Imitation of Object-Directed Acts in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, P. O. Box 5010, Atlanta, GA, 30302, USA. agonsiorowski1@student.gsu.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, P. O. Box 5010, Atlanta, GA, 30302, USA.
3
A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, 3020 Market Street, Suite 560, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Abstract

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) imitate less than typically developing (TD) children; however, the specific features and causes of this deficit are still unclear. The current study investigates the role of joint engagement, specifically children's visual attention to demonstrations, in an object-directed imitation task. This sample was recruited from an early ASD screening study, which allows for an examination of these behaviors prior to formal diagnosis and ASD-specific intervention. Children with ASD imitated less than TD children; children with other developmental delays showed no significant difference from the two other screen-positive groups. Additionally, only the ASD group showed decreased visual attention, suggesting that early visual attention plays a role in the social learning of children with ASD.

KEYWORDS:

Autism spectrum disorders; Cognitive development; Developmental disabilities; Imitation; Social learning; Visual attention

PMID:
26386710
PMCID:
PMC4726474
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-015-2596-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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