Deferred and immediate imitation in regressive and early onset autism

Sally J Rogers, Gregory S. Young, Ian Cook, Angelo Giolzetti, Sally J Ozonoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Deferred imitation has long held a privileged position in early cognitive development, considered an early marker of representational thought with links to language development and symbolic processes. Children with autism have difficulties with several abilities generally thought to be related to deferred imitation: immediate imitation, language, and symbolic play. However, few studies have examined deferred imitation in early autism. The present study examined both deferred, spontaneous imitation and immediate, elicited imitation on a set of carefully matched tasks in 36 young children with autism: 16 with early onset autism, 20 with regressive autism and two contrast groups, younger typically developing children (n = 20) and age matched children with significant developmental delays (n = 21). Analyses of co-variance controlling for differences in verbal mental age revealed significant main effects for task, but no main effect of group and no interaction of task by group. Deferred imitation scores were lower than immediate imitation scores for all groups. Imitation performance was related to overall intellectual functioning for all groups, and there were moderate and significant relations between imitation in the immediate elicited condition and in the spontaneous deferred condition for all groups. Finally, there were no differences between onset subgroups in imitation scores, suggesting that the two share a similar phenotype involving both types of imitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-457
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Keywords

  • Autistic disorder
  • Development
  • Developmental delay
  • Imitation
  • Mental retardation
  • Pervasive developmental disorder
  • Preschool children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Deferred and immediate imitation in regressive and early onset autism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this