International Meeting for Autism Research (London, May 15-17, 2008): BEHAVIORAL AND INTERACTIVE ABNORMALITIES IN EARLY AUTISM ON HOME-MOVIES

BEHAVIORAL AND INTERACTIVE ABNORMALITIES IN EARLY AUTISM ON HOME-MOVIES

Friday, May 16, 2008
Champagne Terrace/Bordeaux (Novotel London West)
11:30 AM
F. Apicella , Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Scientific Institute "Stella Maris", Pisa, Italy
C. Grassi , Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Scientific Institute "Stella Maris", Pisa, Italy
R. Marcone , Seconda UniversitÓ degli Studi di Napoli, Caserta
P. Muratori , Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Scientific Institute "Stella Maris", Pisa, Italy
C. Pecini , Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Scientific Institute "Stella Maris", Pisa, Italy
A. Petrozzi , Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Scientific Institute "Stella Maris", Pisa, Italy
S. Maestro , Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Scientific Institute "Stella Maris", Pisa, Italy
F. Muratori , Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Scientific Institute "Stella Maris", Pisa, Italy
Background:

In the last 30 years, a growing number of studies on home-movies of the first two years of life of children later diagnosed with Autism, report evidences of several abnormalities in the early social development.  

Objectives:

The objective is to describe influences of early signs of autism on social development and to figure-out specific features of interactions in the first 18 months of life. 

Methods:

A scale for the detection of infant/caregiver social behaviors has been applied to HM of three groups (Autism (A) (n=15), Mental-Retardation (MR) (n=12) and Typical-Development (TD) (n=15)) in the first three semesters (t1-t2-t3).  

Results:

No differences in t1 with the exception of higher durations of “Syntonic-responses” in TD. Differences between TD and A become significant in t2 and in t3. Infants with autism display increasing difficulties in “Maintaining-social-engagement” and “Syntonic-responses” and lower frequencies of “Pointing”, “Accepting-invitation” and “Responding-to-name”. Results of MR and A are similars until t3, when children with MR display significantly better performances in behaviors such as “Smiling”, “Enjoying-with-others” and “Vocalizing”. Moreover A receive less solicitations than others to “Regulate-down” their behavior. 
Sequential analysis shows several significant differences in infant’s responses to caregiver stimulations. “Looking-at-people”, “Responding-to-name”, “Maintaining-social-engagement” and “Syntonic-responses” are differently connected with caregiver’s regulation/stimulation behaviors. Cycles-of-interaction patterns between MR and their caregivers result more similar to TD profile than to Autism.  

Conclusions:

In t1 A do not display specific impairments in basic behaviors (look, orient-himself and smile). Intersubjective impairments become evident later, when they seem not able to organize abilities to be socially engaged for enough time. To “Maintain-social-engagement” and to “Accept-invitation”, children need to attune responses to solicitation, showing attention and interest into intention. “Syntonic-responses” can be considered an early indicator of emotional congruence to other's affect and behavior. This behavioral categories may represent empirical markers of typical development.