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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology