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Deferred Imitation and Social Communication in Speaking and Nonspeaking Children With Autism

Journal article
Authors Karin Strid
Mikael Heimann
Christopher Gillberg
Lars Smith
Tomas Tjus
Published in Focus on Autism and other developmental disabilities
Volume 28
Issue 4
Pages 230-240
ISSN 1088-3576
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Psychology
Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Pages 230-240
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1177/1088357612468030
Keywords autism, social communication, deferred imitation, joint attention
Subject categories Psychology

Abstract

Deferred imitation and early social communication skills were compared among speaking and nonspeaking children with autism and children developing typically. Overall, the children with autism showed a lower frequency on measures of deferred imitation and social communication compared with typically developing children. Deferred imitation was observed at a significantly lower level among the speaking and nonspeaking groups of children with autism. However, when comparing the speaking autism group with the typical group, many differences in observed social communication disappeared. These results underscore the importance of considering children’s verbal ability in autism research and clinical practice, and indicate that there are specific difficulties in deferred imitation in autism but that the social communication deficits that are observed are greatly influenced by low level of verbal ability.

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