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Scaling of Early Social Cognitive Skills in Typically Developing Infants and Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Authors
  • Ellis, Katherine1, 2
  • Lewington, Philippa2
  • Powis, Laurie2, 3
  • Oliver, Chris2
  • Waite, Jane2, 4
  • Heald, Mary2, 2
  • Apperly, Ian2
  • Sandhu, Priya2, 2
  • Crawford, Hayley5, 6
  • 1 University of Surrey,
  • 2 University of Birmingham,
  • 3 Present Address: The West Community Assessment and Treatment Service, Marlowes Health and Wellbeing Centre, 39-41 The Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1LD UK
  • 4 Aston University,
  • 5 University of Warwick,
  • 6 Coventry University,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Mar 18, 2020
Volume
50
Issue
11
Pages
3988–4000
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-020-04449-9
PMID: 32189228
PMCID: PMC7557487
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

We delineate the sequence that typically developing infants pass tasks that assess different early social cognitive skills considered precursors to theory-of-mind abilities. We compared this normative sequence to performance on these tasks in a group of autistic (AUT) children. 86 infants were administered seven tasks assessing intention reading and shared intentionality (Study 1). Infants responses followed a consistent developmental sequence, forming a four-stage scale. These tasks were administered to 21 AUT children (Study 2), who passed tasks in the same sequence. However, performance on tasks that required following others’ eye gaze and cooperating with others was delayed. Findings indicate that earlier-developing skills provide a foundation for later-developing skills, and difficulties in acquiring some early social cognitive skills in AUT children. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1007/s10803-020-04449-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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