Hand leading and hand taking gestures in autism and typically developing children

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Children with autism use hand taking and hand leading gestures to interact with others. This is traditionally considered to be an example of atypical behaviour illustrating the lack of intersubjective understanding in autism. However the assumption that these gestures are atypical is based upon scarce empirical evidence. In this paper I present detailed observations in children with autism and typically developing children, suggesting that hand-leading gestures may be an adaptive form of interaction in typically developing children neglected by mainstream developmental psychology. I conclude that, although there may be features differentiating how these gestures are used in autism and typical children, systematic research on them is needed to clarify their nature and significance for both typical and atypical development.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number1
Early online date12 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Gestures
  • hand-leading
  • ,Joint attention
  • Communication


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