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Imitation Can Reduce Repetitive Behaviors and Increase Play Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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DOI: 10.4236/psych.2014.512157    2,758 Downloads   3,388 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Researchers have documented the positive effects of adult imitation on the social and joint attention behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder. In the current study videotapes from an archival data base were recoded to address the effects of imitation on the children’s stereotypic/ repetitive behavior and their behavior directed toward the adult and the toys. In the original study, the children with autism spectrum disorder (N = 24) were videotaped in a playroom that featured 2 sets of the same toys and a seated, still-face adult for 3 minutes. This was followed by a 3-minute period of the adult imitating all of the child’s behaviors/actions. Another seated, stillface adult segment followed (3 min), and finally a spontaneous play period (3 min). During the second still-face following the imitation period versus the first still-face period, the children spent more time touching the adult, and touching and playing with the toys. During the imitation versus the spontaneous play session the children showed less stereotypic/repetitive behavior including less time bringing the toys to the face and making autistic-like sounds. These data suggest that imitation by the adult led to less stereotypic/repetitive behavior by the children with autism spectrum disorder and more engaging behavior including both touching the adult and touching and playing with the toys.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Field, T. , Hernandez-Reif, M. , Diego, M. , Corbin, J. , Stutzman, M. , Orozco, A. , Grace, A. , Kang, M. , Neophytou, L. , Russo, K. , Allender, S. , Dominguez, G. & McGoldrick, K. (2014). Imitation Can Reduce Repetitive Behaviors and Increase Play Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Psychology, 5, 1463-1467. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.512157.

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