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Durham e-Theses
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Social gaze and symbolic skills in typically developing infants and children with autism

Gagliano, Antonino (2001) Social gaze and symbolic skills in typically developing infants and children with autism. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The aim of this thesis was to investigate, through two observational studies, the relation among social gaze, play and language in 27 typically developing infants (study 1) and 18 young children with autism (study 2). The child's spontaneous play behaviour and their spontaneous social gaze behaviours were assessed in a five-minute free-play observation session. Measures of children's language were obtained using the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory, and measures of overall mental ability were obtained using the Bayley Mental Scale of Infant Development-II. Two hypotheses were tested. The first concerned the relation between play and language. The hypothesis was that symbolic play and language reflect the emergence of a common underlying symbolic ability in 18-24 month olds infants. Results did not show a link between these twin symbolic abilities supporting the view that later in development word-learning diverges from other form of symbol development. The second concerned the relation between play and social gaze. The hypothesis was that social gaze is important for the emergence of symbolic development in typically developing infants and preschool children with autism and developmental delays. Results supported the view that social interaction is important for symbolic and pre-symbolic skills but suggested that the use of social gaze may have a general rather than a specific role in assisting symbolic activity. The implications of these findings for the developmental accounts of typically infants and children with autism are discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Thesis Date:2001
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 11:34

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