Helping and sharing in preschool children with autism
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Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social-cognitive and social-communicative behaviors. Yet, little is known about the extent to which children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) engage in prosocial action. We assessed helping and sharing behaviors in 3- to 6-year-old neurotypically (NT) developing children and children diagnosed with ASD. Children with ASD were more inclined to show spontaneous helping in the absence of the helpee than NT children. In the sharing task, NT children shared the resources equally between themselves and the recipients. In contrast, ASD children kept less for themselves and gave more resources away. In addition, the stronger the ASD symptoms were and the less cognitively weaker they were, the more children preferred to give resources to a rich than to a poor other.
KeywordsNeurodevelopmental disorder Autism Preschoolers Prosocial development
For support with data acquisition and data coding we are grateful to Montse Genaró, Amaia García. We also thank the children who participated in the study and the CDIAP Montsià, CDIAP Terres de l’Ebre, Lluïssa Chavarria, Col.legi Diocesà Sagrada Família i Àngels Piquet.
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