International Meeting for Autism Research: Teaching Reciprocal Imitation Skills

Teaching Reciprocal Imitation Skills

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Elizabeth Ballroom E-F and Lirenta Foyer Level 2 (Manchester Grand Hyatt)
9:00 AM
M. Jung and T. Nagasaki, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan

Children with autism spectrum disorder(ASD) exhibit significant deficit in imitation skills. The importance of imitation in early development is evident in relationship with social-communicative context. Reciprocal Imitation Training (RIT), a naturalistic imitation intervention, was developed to teach spontaneous imitation skills to young children during ongoing play interactions. Previous research has demonstrated that RIT is effective for teaching gesture imitation (Ingersoll, Lewis, & Kroman, 2007).


In the present study, we attempted to develop and apply a Japanese traditional play (Iponbashi) as one of RIT task.


A participant is a boy who received an ASD diagnosis before age 4. We conduct ‘Iponbashi’ for 1 year in a small university playroom. ‘Iponbashi’ consists of six imitation behavior steps in play, step 1 - writing ‘1’ on the adult’s palms by his index finger, step 2 - tickling the adult’s palms, step 3 - slapping the adult’s palms, step4 - pinching the adult’s palms, step 5 - tapping on the adult’s arms, step 6- tickling the adult’s body.


Results from this study indicated an increase in the frequency of the spontaneous imitation used in ‘Iponbashi’. Moreover, results indicated an increase in positive emotion for 1 year. Also, ‘Iponbashi’ have been conducted the other ASD and coding of the continuous measure is currently underway. More detailed conclusions will be available, for presentation at the conference.


There is good variability in the frequency of spontaneous imitation use in a boy with ASD, and we will discuss the possibility that young children with autism implement ‘Iponbashi’ to train reciprocal imitation with parent.

| More