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J Autism Dev Disord. 1984 Mar;14(1):27-38.

Imitating the autistic child: facilitating communicative gaze behavior.


The nonverbal autistic child exhibits a persistent and characteristic feature known as gaze aversion. Since gaze interaction between the autistic child and the clinician [or adult] is a requisite experience in therapeutic learning, procedures that modify gaze behavior in autistic children serve an important clinical function. The present research was designed to investigate three kinds of adult-child interaction that differentially affected changes in gaze behavior. The interaction procedure in which the experimenter imitated the autistic child's object and action performances resulted in the greatest change in the frequency and the duration of gaze behavior. An analysis of these methodologies reveals information concerning contextual and therapeutic variables that affected the gaze behavior in six autistic children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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