Research sheds new light on interaction problems for children with autism

The difficulties that children with autism have in showing
objects to other people may emerge from earlier problems with
simple face-to-face interaction, according to new research.

Until recently many researchers believed that these difficulties
that children with autism experience was due to the child’s
lack of awareness that people’s reactions were directed
towards objects and events in the world around them, says Dr Susan
Leekham, who led the two-year study.

But Leekham, from the department of psychology at the University
of Durham, said: “These findings indicate that the problems
may start even earlier in development than previously

The Economic and Social Research Council-sponsored research
found that children in the study who did no pointing or showing
objects to an adult were those most impaired in face-to-face

“This finding has implications for early intervention.
Many parents are aware of difficulties long before a diagnosis of
autism is made,” Leekham added. “By gaining greater
understanding of these very early problems we hope that ways can be
found to target them before other difficulties emerge.”

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