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For toddlers with autism spectrum disorders, supplementing a comprehensive intervention with interpersonal synchrony improves socially engaged imitation

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What is the effect of supplementing a comprehensive intervention with a curriculum targeting socially synchronous behaviour on social outcomes in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)?


50 children aged 21–33 months who met Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule criteria for ASD or autism and had received a diagnosis from a clinical specialist. Children were required to have a non-verbal mental age of 8 months, no siblings with ASD and to have no known aetiology for ASD.


One research institute (Kennedy Krieger Institute Center for Autism and Related Disorders), USA; time period not stated.


Interpersonal synchrony (IS) versus non-interpersonal synchrony (Non-IS) for 6 months. Both conditions used the Assessment, Evaluation and Programming System for Infants and Children. Non-IS involved 10 h/week in a classroom (5:3 student-to-interventionist ratio) with instructional strategies representing a continuum of adult-imposed structure including discrete trial teaching, pivotal response training and routines-based interaction. Low-tech augmentative communication systems, visual cues and visually based organisational strategies were also used. The aim was to increase child-initiated intentional communication …

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  • Sources of funding National Institutes of Mental Health and HRSA.


  • Competing interests None.