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J Autism Dev Disord. 2007 Sep;37(8):1446-56.

Teaching the imitation and spontaneous use of descriptive gestures in young children with autism using a naturalistic behavioral intervention.

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Department of Psychology, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219, USA.


Children with autism exhibit deficits in the imitation and spontaneous use of descriptive gestures. Reciprocal Imitation Training (RIT), a naturalistic imitation intervention, has ben shown to increase object imitation skills in young children with autism. A single-subject, multiple-baseline design across five young children with autism was used to determine whether RIT could be adapted to target the imitation of descriptive gestures. All participants increased their imitation of gestures in the treatment setting and on a structured imitation assessment. Gains generalized to a novel therapist, setting, and materials and maintained at a 1-month follow-up. Three participants also increased their spontaneous use of descriptive gestures. These results provide support for the effectiveness of a naturalistic intervention for teaching gesture imitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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