Imitation and gaze direction during interaction with others in children with developmental disorders

[Speaker] Makita, Kyoko:1
[Co-author] Nagai, Yuuya:1, Hinobayashi, Toshihiko:1, Tadahiro, Kanazawa:1
1:Osaka University (Japan)

The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between the imitation ability and the gaze direction during interaction in children with developmental disorders. 19 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and four children with other developmental disorders (DD) participated in this study. The experiment consisted of six free play sessions and six imitation sessions in turn. There was a positive correlation between imitation ability and frequency of gaze at the experimenter's face. Children with ASD showed poorer imitation ability, compared to children with DD. While children with DD looked at the experimenter's face as frequently as toys, children with ASD looked at toys more than the experimenter's face. These suggest that it might be important to look at the others' face to imitate and that children with ASD might show the imitation deficit because they tended to direct their gaze to toys more frequently than the others' face.
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