Over-imitation in children with autism and Down syndrome

Nielsen, Mark and Hudry, Kristelle (2010) Over-imitation in children with autism and Down syndrome. Australian Journal of Psychology, 62 2: 67-74. doi:10.1080/00049530902758613

Author Nielsen, Mark
Hudry, Kristelle
Title Over-imitation in children with autism and Down syndrome
Journal name Australian Journal of Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-9530
Publication date 2010-07-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/00049530902758613
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 62
Issue 2
Start page 67
End page 74
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Language eng
Abstract Typically developing children have been shown to imitate the specific means used by an adult to achieve an object-directed outcome, even if a more efficient method is available. It has been argued that this behaviour can be attributed to social and communicative motivations. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), relative to children with Down syndrome (DS), show a reduced tendency to copy the exact means used by an adult to produce a novel outcome. To achieve this a sample of 34 children (22 with ASD and 12 with DS) were given a test of object-directed imitation. Contrary to expectation, children in both groups imitated the specific method of the model to the same high extent. This finding is in line with suggestions that object-directed imitation is relatively spared in children with autism but is surprising given arguments linking such imitation to socially based motivations. Nevertheless, children's ability to successfully copy the model was associated with their communicative ability, providing some support for the link between imitation and communication. © The Australian Psychological Society Ltd.
Keyword Autism
Cognitive development
Developmental disorders
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID 096919
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 04 Jul 2010, 10:07:03 EST