Gestural communication in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders during mother-child interaction

Children with autism spectrum disorders display atypical development of gesture production, and gesture impairment is
one of the determining factors of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Despite the obvious importance of this issue for
children with autism spectrum disorder, the literature on gestures in autism is scarce and contradictory. The purpose of this
study was to analyze gestural communication in children with autism spectrum disorder during spontaneous mother-child
interaction. Participants were children with autism spectrum disorder (n = 20), Down's syndrome (n = 20), and typical
development (n = 20) and their mothers. Children's mean developmental age was 24.16 months (standard deviation =
1.45 months) and did not differ across the groups. Gestural communication was analyzed with a specific coding scheme
allowing a quantitative and qualitative analysis of gestural production. Results showed the following: (a) differences between
autism spectrum disorder, typical development, and Down's syndrome groups in the total number of gestures produced;
(b) differences between the three groups in the distribution of gesture types; and (c) specific correlations between gestural
production, cognitive development, and autism severity scores. The study of gestures in autism spectrum disorder could
help us to identify different phenotypes in autism and could also lead to the development of new therapies.

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Mastrogiuseppe M.
Capirci O.
Cuva S.
Venuti P.
SAGE in association with the National Autistic Society,, London , Regno Unito
Autism (Lond.) 3 (2014): 1–13. doi:10.1177/1362361314528390
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Mastrogiuseppe M., Capirci O., Cuva S., Venuti P./titolo:Gestural communication in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders during mother-child interaction/doi:10.1177/1362361314528390/rivista:Autism (Lond.)/anno:2014/pagina_da:1
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