Authors: Ingersoll B
Title: Brief Report: Effect of a Focused Imitation Intervention on Social Functioning in Children with Autism
Source: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2012 42(8): 1768-1773
Year: 2012
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 04/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - N
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - N
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Imitation is an early skill thought to play a role in social development, leading some to suggest that teaching imitation to children with autism should lead to improvements in social functioning. This study used a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of a focused imitation intervention on initiation of joint attention and social-emotional functioning in 27 young children with autism. Results indicated the treatment group made significantly more gains in joint attention initiations at post-treatment and follow-up and social-emotional functioning at follow-up than the control group. Although gains in social functioning were associated with treatment, a mediation analysis did not support imitation as the mechanism of action. These findings suggest the intervention improves social functioning in children with ASD. ©Springer

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