The Social Role of Imitation in Autism: Implications for the Treatment of Imitation Deficits

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Abstract

Individuals with autism exhibit significant deficits in imitation skills. This article reviews the importance of imitation in typical development, focusing on the social function of imitation and its role in the development of social communication skills. Second, it reviews evidence suggesting an association between imitation deficits and social communication impairments in children with autism. Third, it discusses limitations of the current method for teaching imitation that targets only the learning function of imitation. Finally, it describes a new imitation intervention designed to teach the social use of imitation in young children with autism.

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