Joint Attention and Social Imitation Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Undergraduate Research Theses; 2019
This paper examined the relationship between joint attention and social imitation and the impact of joint attention in therapy designed to target the social imitation deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder. Much of past research relied on third variables to develop the nonverbal communication deficits. This study acknowledged past limitations and focused on the importance of joint attention as a foundational skill to develop social imitation. A scale measuring nonverbal communication skills was used to predict change in imitation skills of children who completed 10 weeks of intervention, measured by two separate imitation assessments pre- and post-therapy. Results found proximal response to joint attention bids to be statistically significant predictors for imitation growth in the MIS and UIA-O, along with age and pre-therapy imitation scores on the specified assessment. The reciprocal relationship between joint attention and imitation in a therapy setting was discussed as a future direction. Overall, this study provided evidence for the importance of joint attention in the hierarchy of communication skills and its role as a possible influence future participant inclusion criteria of imitation therapies.
Academic Major: Psychology
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