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Role reversal imitation and language in typically developing infants and children with autism

by Malinda Carpenter, Michael Tomasello, Tricia Striano
Infancy ()
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Three types of role reversal imitation were investigated in typically developing 12-and 18-month-old infants and in children with autism and other developmental delays. Many typically developing infants at both ages engaged in each of the 2 types of dyadic, body-oriented role reversal imitation: self-self reversals, in which the adult acted on herself and the child then acted on himself, and other-other reversals. in which the adult acted on the child and the child then acted back on the adult. However, 12-month-olds had more difficulty than 18-month-olds with triadic, object-mediated role reversals involving interactions around objects. There was little evidence of any type of role reversal imitation in children with autism. Positive relations were found between role reversal imitation and various measures of language development for 18-month-olds and children with autism.

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