Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 579–595

Social initiations by autistic children to adults and other children

  • Margaret Hauck
  • Deborah Fein
  • Lynn Waterhouse
  • Carl Feinstein
Article

Abstract

Social initiations made by autistic and verbal-matched retarded children were recorded in two naturalistic situations. Frequencies of initiation to adults did not differ between groups, but the retarded children initiated much more frequently to peers. Most interactions for both groups were positive, but the autistic children engaged in more ritualized, and the retarded children more playful, initiations. The autistic children monitored the social environment more when forced into proximity with peers, whereas the retarded children initiated more in the unstructured situation. Autistic initiation to peers was unrelated to severity of autism, but was related to cognitive skills, including vocabulary and comprehension of affect, whereas retarded children's initiations were unrelated to cognitive level. Results are discussed in terms of the differences between adults and children as social stimuli, prerequisite skills for initiation to peers, and the relationship between social cognition and social behavior. It is suggested that autistic and retarded children differ in the quantity of their initiations to peers, and the quality of their initiations to adults, and that initiations to peers may be a particularly useful index of social development in autistic children. Results confirm the need of autistic children for highly structured social environments, and suggest an important role for the remediation of specific cognitive skills such as comprehension of others' affects.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1987).Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed., rev.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (1994).Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Attwood, A., Frith, U., & Hermelin, B. (1988). The understanding and use of interpersonal gestures by autistic and Down syndrome children.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 18, 241–257.Google Scholar
  4. Brady, M. P., Shores, R., McEvoy, M., Ellis, D., & Fox, J. (1987). Increasing social interactions of severely handicapped autistic children.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 17, 375–390.Google Scholar
  5. Braverman, M., Fein, D., Lucci, D., & Waterhouse, L. (1989). Affect comprehension in children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 19, 301–316.Google Scholar
  6. Castelloe, P., & Dawson, G. (1993). Subclassification of children with autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A questionnaire based on Wing's subgrouping scheme.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 23, 229–241.Google Scholar
  7. Charlop, M., Schreibman, L., & Tryon, A. (1983). Learning through observation: The effect of peer modeling on acquisition and generalization in autistic children.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 11, 355–366.Google Scholar
  8. Dawson, G., & Adams, A. (1984). Imitation and social responsiveness in autistic children.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 12, 209–226.Google Scholar
  9. Dawson, G., & Fernald, M. (1987). Perspective-taking ability and its relationship to the social behavior of autistic children.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 17, 487–489.Google Scholar
  10. Dawson, G., Klinger, L. G., Panagiotides, H., Lewy, A., & Castelloe, P. (in press). Subgroups of autistic children based on social behavior display distinct patterns of brain activity.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.Google Scholar
  11. Dunn, L., & Dunn, L. (1981).Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  12. Fein, D., Lucci, D., Braverman, M., & Waterhouse, L. (1992). Comprehension of affect in context in children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 33, 1157–1167.Google Scholar
  13. Fein, D., Pennington, B., Markowitz, P., Braverman, M., & Waterhouse, L. (1986). Towards a neuropsychological model of autism: Are the social deficits primary?Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 25, 98–212.Google Scholar
  14. Haring, T. G., and Lovinger, L. (1989). Promoting social interaction through teaching generalized play initiation.Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 14, 58–67.Google Scholar
  15. Hobson, R. P. (1983). The autistic child's recognition of age-related features of people, animals and things.British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 1, 343–352.Google Scholar
  16. Lewy, A., & Dawson, G. (1992). Social stimulation and joint attention in young autistic children.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 20, 555–567.Google Scholar
  17. Lord, C. (1984). Development of peer relations in children with autism. In F. Morrison, C. Lord, & D. Keating (Eds.),Applied developmental psychology. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  18. Lord, C., & Hopkins, J. (1986). The social behavior of autistic children.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 16, 449–462.Google Scholar
  19. Loveland, K., & Landry, S. (1986). Joint attention and language in autism and developmental language delay.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 16, 335–349.Google Scholar
  20. McHale, S., Simeonsson, R., Marcus, L., & Olley, J. (1980). The social and symbolic quality of autistic children's communication.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 10, 299–310.Google Scholar
  21. Mundy, P., Sigman, M., & Kasari, C. (1990). A longitudinal study of joint attention and language development in autistic children.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 20, 115–128.Google Scholar
  22. Oke, N., & Schreibman, L. (1990). Training social initiations to a high-functioning autistic child: Assessment of collateral behavior change and generalization in a case study.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 20, 479–497.Google Scholar
  23. Prizant, B., & Wetherby, A. (1987). Communicative intent: A framework for understanding social-communicative behavior in autism.Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 26, 472–479.Google Scholar
  24. Rapin, I. (Ed.). (in press). Preschool children with inadequate communication: Developmental language disorder, autism, mental deficiency.Clinics in Developmental Medicine.Google Scholar
  25. Sherman, M., Shapiro, T., & Glassman, M. (1983). Play and language in developmentally disordered preschoolers—A new approach to classification.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 22, 511–524.Google Scholar
  26. Sigman, M., Mundy, P., Sherman, T., & Ungerer, J. (1986). Social interactions of autistic, mentally retarded and normal children and their caregivers.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 27, 647–656.Google Scholar
  27. Sparrow, S. S., Balla, D. A., & Cicchetti, D. V. (1984). The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. Minneapolis, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  28. Stone, W., & Caro-Martinez, L. (1990). Naturalistic observations of spontaneous communications in autistic children.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 20, 437–453.Google Scholar
  29. Stone, W., & Lemanek, K. (1990). Parental report of social behaviors in autistic preschoolers.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 20, 513–522.Google Scholar
  30. Thorndike, R. L., Hagen, E. P., & Sattler, J. M. (1986). Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (4th ed.) Chicago: Riverside.Google Scholar
  31. Ungerer, J. (1989). The early development of autistic children. In G. Dawson (Ed.),Autism: Nature, diagnosis and treatment. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  32. Volkmar, F. (1987). Social development. In D. Cohen & A. Donnellan (Eds.),Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  33. Volkmar, F., Cohen, D., Bregman, J., Hooks, M., & Stevenson, J. (1989). An examination of social typologies in autism.Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 28, 82–86.Google Scholar
  34. Wetherby, A., & Prutting, C. (1984). Profiles of communicative and cognitive-social abilities in autistic children.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 27, 364–377.Google Scholar
  35. Wing, L. (1978). Social, behavioral and cognitive characteristics: an epidemiological approach. In E. Schopler and M. Rutter (Eds.),Autism: A reappraisal of concepts and treatment. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  36. Wing, L., & Atwood, A. (1987). Syndromes of autism and atypical development. In D. J. Cohen & A. Donnelan (Eds.),Handbook of autism. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Hauck
    • 1
  • Deborah Fein
    • 2
  • Lynn Waterhouse
    • 3
  • Carl Feinstein
    • 4
  1. 1.Louisiana State University Medical CenterUSA
  2. 2.University of Connecticut and Boston University School of MedicineUSA
  3. 3.Trenton State CollegeUSA
  4. 4.Kennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimore
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrs

Personalised recommendations