Can video speak the language of Autism?

Department of Psychology, William Paterson University

Project Description

This study has two important purposes: the first is to look at imitation in autism and the possibility that children with ASD have a different mode of imitating than typically developing children that is highly dependent upon the unique social constraints of imitation; the second is to take a carefully controlled look at the possibility that video and touchscreen technology, a medium that is very popular within the autism community, offers children with ASD an advantage over live instruction.

All the children who see a demonstration will see exactly the same thing, but some of them will see it on a video screen and the others will see the same person as the video demonstrating in person. Following the demonstration, which will show the children how to put together an abstract puzzle, the child will be given access to the puzzle and the researchers will observe any imitation behavior.

Three potential outcomes make this interesting. First that we would provide solid empirical support for the proliferation of video-based interventions and use of touchscreen technology in the assessment with children with ASD, both of which are popular intervention strategies second that combining this research with the existing research on the underlying mechanisms of imitation in typically developing children will give a clearer picture of imitation in general and imitation in ASD particularly, third it could lead to empirically driven interventions.

Selection Criteria

We are testing both typically developing children and children with Autism between the ages of 36 and 48 months. 

What's Involved

One session, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Games, live and on a screen, ADOS assessment


All children receive a t-shirt; no monetary compensation
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Grant Study Brochure 452 Can video speak the language of Autism? Feb 26, 2015 theskript
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Team Members

Amy Learmonth
Principal Investigator
(973) 720-2765

Contact Info
(973) 720-2765
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ 07470



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