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Pretend play, deferred imitation and parent-child interaction in speaking and non-speaking children with autism.

Journal article
Authors Karin Strid
Mikael Heimann
Tomas Tjus
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Volume 54
Issue 1
Pages 26-32
ISSN 0036-5564
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 26-32
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12003
Keywords Autism, pretend play, deferred imitation, parent interaction, recall memory, language level
Subject categories Psychology

Abstract

Strid, K., Heimann, M. & Tjus T. (2012). Pretend play, deferred imitation and parent-child interaction in speaking and non-speaking children with autism. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. This study investigates spontaneous pretend play during a parent-child free play observation, and deferred imitation observed in an experimental setting in speaking and non-speaking children with autism in comparison to children with typical development. Both groups of children with autism showed a reduced level of deferred imitation compared to the typically developing group, but only the non-speaking children with autism spent significantly less time in pretend play compared to children with typical development. Deferred imitation was related to parents' verbal interaction in both groups. An analysis of the parent-child interaction revealed that parents of children with autism used less synchronized comments compared to parents of typically developing children. Parents of the speaking group with autism used more synchronized than unsynchronized comments, while parents of the non-speaking group used the same amount of synchronized and unsynchronized comments. These findings are discussed in terms of how the developmental level affects behavior and interaction in autism.

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