Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 475–485

Motor Imitation in Young Children with Autism: What's the Object?

  • Wendy L. Stone
  • Opal Y. Ousley
  • Cynthia D. Littleford
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022685731726

Cite this article as:
Stone, W.L., Ousley, O.Y. & Littleford, C.D. J Abnorm Child Psychol (1997) 25: 475. doi:10.1023/A:1022685731726

Abstract

Two studies investigated the nature of motor imitation in young children with autism. Study 1 compared different types of motor imitation in 18 autistic children, 18 children with developmental delay, and 18 normally developing children. Results revealed weaker imitation skills for the autistic group, though all groups demonstrated a similar pattern of performance across different imitation domains. Imitation of body movements was more difficult than imitation of actions with objects, and imitation of nonmeaningful actions was more difficult than imitation of meaningful actions. Study 2 investigated concurrent and predictive relations between imitation and other developmental skills within a sample of 26 two-year-old children with autism. Results suggested that imitation of body movements and imitation of actions with objects represent independent dimensions. Imitation of body movements was concurrently and predictively associated with expressive language skills, and imitation of actions with objects was concurrently associated with play skills. Improvements in both motor imitation domains occurred over a 1-year period.

Autismmotor imitationearly developmentearly diagnosis

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy L. Stone
    • 1
  • Opal Y. Ousley
    • 3
  • Cynthia D. Littleford
    • 3
  1. 1.Vanderbilt University Medical SchoolNashville
  2. 2.Medical Center SouthVanderbilt University Child Development CenterNashville
  3. 3.Peabody College of Vanderbilt UniversityNashville