Objectives: The current study seeks to extend previous findings by 1) exploring the relationship between social-cognitive skills and a broader range of prosocial behaviors and 2) examining this relationship in both TD children and children with ASD.
Methods: Children with ASD (N=15, mental age of at least 12 months) TD children (N=15, 18- to -24 months old) were examined. Participants engaged in a play-based activity designed to examine: their ability to initiate JA as well as to imitate bodily movements/expressions and actions on objects, their intentional understanding, and their engagement in several prosocial behaviours (e.g., helping, sharing, and comforting). Children’s developmental level was assessed using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning and diagnosis of an ASD was confirmed with the ADOS.
Results: Presently, data collection is nearing completion. We anticipate that children with ASD will be delayed on all measures as compared to TD children. We also expect that both groups’ JA, imitation, and intentional understanding skills will be correlated with their tendency to display prosocial behaviours.
Conclusions: Charting the developmental course of social cognitive difficulties and their relationship with the acquisition of prosocial skills in the ASD population will facilitate effective early interventions and education programs.