Defining the social deficits of autism: The contribution of non-verbal communication measures

Peter Clive Mundy, M. Sigman, J. Ungerer, T. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

577 Scopus citations


Young autistic children were compared to normal and control samples on measures of non-verbal communication skills and object play skills. Deficits in non-verbal indicating behaviors best discriminated the children diagnosed as autistic from other groups. Although the autistic children also exhibited deficits in object play behavior, these deficits did not add appreciably to the discriminant function based on the non-verbal communication behaviors. These results suggest that a deficit in the development of non-verbal indicating behaviors is a significant characteristic of young children who receive the diagnosis of autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-669
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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