Friday, May 8, 2009
Northwest Hall (Chicago Hilton)
Background: Children with autism exhibit significant deficits in imitation skills. Reciprocal Imitation Training (RIT), a naturalistic imitation intervention, was developed to teach young children with autism to imitate during play. Previous research employing multiple-baseline designs has shown this approach to be effective for teaching object (Ingersoll & Schreibman, 2006; Ingersoll & Gergans, 2007) and gesture imitation (Ingersoll, Lewis, & Kroman, 2007) in young children with autism.
Objectives: The goal of this study was to examine the efficacy of RIT in a larger sample of children using a randomized control trial and standardized assessments.
Methods: Twenty-one children with autism between the ages of 2 and 4 were randomly assigned to a treatment (11) or control (10) group. Children in the treatment group received 3 hours per week of RIT targeting object and gesture imitation for 10 weeks. All participants were administered standardized assessments of imitation skills at pre- and posttreatment, and at a 2 month follow-up.
Results: Preliminary results suggest that children in the treatment group made greater gains in imitation skills than the control group.
Conclusions: RIT is an effective approach for teaching imitation skills to young children with autism.