Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 45–56 | Cite as

Caregiver interactions with autistic children

  • Connie Kasari
  • Marian Sigman
  • Peter Mundy
  • Nurit Yirmiya


Caregiver interactions with young autistic children were contrasted with those involving caregivers and developmentally matched mentally retarded and normal infants. Caregivers of autistic children were similar to other caregivers in their responsiveness to child nonverbal communication bids and in their engagement in mutually sustained play. Caregivers of autistic children were similar to caregivers of mentally retarded children in their greater use of control strategies. However, these two groups of caregivers differed in the particular strategies they used to shape their children's behavior. Caregivers of mentally retarded children pointed to objects while caregivers of autistic children spent more time physically holding their children on task. Individual differences within the autistic sample indicated that caregivers regulated their children's behavior less and showed more mutual play and positive feedback to more communicatively able autistic children. These findings suggest that caregivers respond differentially to the specific deficiencies shown by their children.


Individual Difference Positive Feedback Autistic Child Nonverbal Communication Normal Infant 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Connie Kasari
    • 1
  • Marian Sigman
    • 1
  • Peter Mundy
    • 1
  • Nurit Yirmiya
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUCLA School of MedicineLos Angeles

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