Elicited imitation in children and adults with autism: is there a deficit?

JD Beadle-Brown, Andrew Whiten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Rogers and Pennington (1991) proposed that an early deficit in imitation, together with a cascade of developmental disorders in emotion sharing and theory of mind, could be important in understanding autism, but the research on deficits in imitation is not conclusive. Using a Do-As-I-Do procedure, the present study tested the existence of a deficit in elicited imitation in a group of individuals with autism aged from 4 to 34 years and compared their performance to that of typically developing children and to children with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. On a large battery of tasks, the majority of children and adults with autism had few problems relative to controls, although certain actions did seem more difficult, especially for the youngest children. Taking into consideration the reasonably small sample sizes, which advise cautious interpretation, implications for both theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-163
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004




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