Effects of an imitation routine on reciprocal motor and language imitation in children with autism
Stephens, Carolyn Esposito
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Infants with autism do not engage with caregivers in typical ways during joint attention months of development. The differences between infants with autism and their typically developing peers are identified as detrimental for social-communicative development of the children with autism. This multiple probe design across 4 participants and across 3 behaviors evaluated effects on imitation turn-taking behaviors of children with autism after a researcher repeatedly imitated them during a social routine. Social reinforcement in the nondirective, musical routine motivated children with autism to increase their imitations of actions and words modeled by the researcher. The current study contributes to a body of group and single subject investigations describing effects of imitating children with autism as a scaffolding strategy to promote socialcommunicative behaviors. The study provides evidence that children with autism respond to imitation of their behaviors as salient social interactions.