Adult imitation of children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) is likely to be effective in facilitating their communicative gaze behaviors. This study compared imitative behaviors to contingent, but not-imitative, behaviors in children with ASD and those with typical development (TD). The caretakers were asked to play an imitative role to explore the effects of imitation intervention on parenting. The results indicated that children with ASD gazed longer at imitative behaviors than mere contingent behaviors while children with TD gazed at their mother irrespective of her type of intervention. The present study highlights the benefits of caretakers using imitation while caring for children with ASD. The power of imitation for children with ASD suggests its therapeutic application to home-based intervention by caretakers.
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