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Focused and social attention of autistic children in interactions with familiar and unfamiliar adults: A comparison of autistic, mentally retarded, and normal children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 October 2008

Connie Kasari*
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
Marian Sigman
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
Nurit Yirmiya
Affiliation:
Hebrew University, Jerusalem
*Corresponding
Address correspondence to: Connie Kasari, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

Abstract

This study involved observations of children's behaviors in interactive situations with both familiar and unfamiliar partners. The greatest differences between the autistic and nonautistic children were in an unstructured situation where caregivers did not initiate interactions. In this situation, autistic children rarely looked to the partner or initiated social bids to the partner. They also were less focused on the toys available for play compared to nonautistic children. However, the autistic children were similar in their interactive responses to the partner in an adult-initiated social situation. Individual differences confirmed that more able autistic children in terms of cognitive and language abilities also engaged in greater social and communicative behavior with the partner. These findings suggest that the ways in which social deficits are manifested by autistic children are variable with respect to the context in which they are measured.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1993

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Focused and social attention of autistic children in interactions with familiar and unfamiliar adults: A comparison of autistic, mentally retarded, and normal children
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