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Spontaneous, elicited and deferred imitation in children with autism spectrum disorder
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Imitation, a key vehicle for both cognitive and social development, is often regarded as more difficult for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) than for children with Down syndrome (DS) or typically developing (TD) children. The current study investigates similarities and differences in observed elicited, spontaneous and deferred imitation using both actions with objects and gestures as imitation tasks in these groups. Imitation among 19 children with autism (M age 67 months) was compared with 20 children with DS (M age = 63 months) and 23 TD children (M age 35 months) matched for mental and language age. Elicited imitation resulted in significantly lower scores for the children with ASD in comparison with the other two groups (DS and TD), an effect mainly carried by low level of imitation of gestures among the ASD children. In comparison, we observed no differences in mean imitation scores between the groups on spontaneous imitation. However, both the children with ASD and DS displayed less deferred imitation than the TD group. Furthermore, the proneness to imitate, especially elicited imitation, differed between groups: Only 10 (53%) of the children with autism responded in the elicited imitation condition compared to all children with DS and almost all TD children (87%). These findings add to our understanding of the kind of imitation difficulties children with ASD might have. They also point to the necessity not to equate various imitation measures since they may capture different processes and also be differently motivating for children with autism.

National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117040OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-117040DiVA, id: diva2:803098
Available from: 2015-04-13 Created: 2015-04-13 Last updated: 2015-04-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Memory and communication in typically developing infants and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Behavioral and electrophysiological indices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Memory and communication in typically developing infants and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Behavioral and electrophysiological indices
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how variations in early memory capacity seems, both in children with typical development in children with autism. More specifically, variations in early memory is examined here over time, and its relationship to early (verbal and non-verbal) communication skills. Furthermore, also investigated whether one can say anything about these early variations based on brain responses to associative learning memory. The results show a relationship between memory and associative learning and receptive language. In addition, there was a relation between the children remember when they are 9 months and after 16 months, and even their receptive language (vocabulary), indicating a stability of these variations. There was also a relationship between memory capacity at the age of 9 months and productive language at 16 months of age. Furthermore, when comparing children with autism and typically developing children and children with Down syndrome, it was found that there were no differences in spontaneous imitation but for imitation on call and after a delay, they differ from the other groups. When account is taken of the children with Autism linguistic abilities, it turns out that it is the non-verbal children that differ from control groups, while the verbal children with autism perform at the same level as the comparison groups. For typically developing children there was a relationship between spontaneous imitation and elicited imitation. The results of the studies in this thesis discussed based on developmental theories and their implications for future studies.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med föreliggande avhandling är att undersöka hur variationer i tidig minnesförmåga ter sig, både hos barn med typisk utveckling och hos barn med autism. Mer specifikt, variationer i tidig minnesförmåga undersöks här över tid, samt dess relation till tidig (verbal och icke-verbal) kommunikativ förmåga. Vidare undersöks även huruvida man kan säga något om dessa tidiga variationer utifrån hjärnans respons till associativt lärande/minne. Resultaten visar på en relation mellan minne och associativ inlärning samt receptivt språk. Resultaten visar även en relation mellan hur barnen minns när de är 9 månader och när de är 16 månader, samt även deras receptiva språk (ordförståelse), vilket indikerar en stabilitet av dessa variationer. Det fanns även en relation mellan minnesförmåga vid 9 månaders ålder och produktivt språk vid 16 månaders ålder. Vidare, vid jämförelse mellan barn med autism och typiskt utvecklade barn samt barn med down syndrom, visade det sig att det inte förelåg några skillnader vad gäller spontan imitation men för imitation på uppmaning samt efter en fördröjning skiljer de sig från de andra grupperna. När hänsyn tas till barnen med autisms språkliga förmågor, visar det sig att det är de icke-verbala barnen som skiljer sig från jämförelsegrupperna medan de verbala barnen med autism presterar på samma nivå som jämförelsegrupperna. För de typiskt utvecklade barnen fanns en relation mellan spontan imitation och imitation på uppmaning. Resultaten från studierna i avhandlingen diskuteras utifrån utvecklingspsykologiska teorier samt deras implikationer på framtida studier.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. p. 55
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 643Studies from the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 71
Keywords
Memory development, communication, deferred imitation, ERP, autism spectrum disorder, Minne, kommunikation, fördröjd imitation, ERP, autismspektrumstörning
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117041 (URN)978-91-7519-078-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-04-24, Key 1, Hus Key, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
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Available from: 2015-04-13 Created: 2015-04-13 Last updated: 2017-11-02Bibliographically approved

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Nordqvist, EmelieHeimann, Mikael

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