, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 525-536

Are Infants with Autism Socially Engaged? A Study of Recent Retrospective Parental Reports

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The purpose of this study was to identify the specific aspects of social engagement that distinguish infants with autism from infants of similar age and developmental level who do not have autism. Ten parents of preschoolers with autism and 10 parents of matched children without autism were given a semistructured interview, the Detection of Autism by Infant Sociability Interview (DAISI), which elicits reports on whether 19 aspects of social engagement characteristic of typically developing infants were present at some time during the child's first 24 months. The reports of infants with autism differed from those of the control group on 16 items. Findings suggest that infants with autism have marked limitation in both person-to-person and person-person-object social engagement, in keeping with the theory that autism involves impairments in primary as well as secondary intersubjectivity (Hobson, 1993a).