Who's That in the Mirror? Autism and the Developing Sense of Self

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A small, exploratory British study of preschoolers with either autism or Down syndrome and typically developing toddlers looked at how each group of children acted toward their reflections in a mirror. They looked for trends, both group trends (i.e., how do autistic children differ from their non-autistic developmental peers, represented in different ways by the Down syndrome group and the younger typically developing group, whose chronological age matched the developmental ages found for both developmentally-disabled groups), and within-group trends relating mirror behavior to performance on a test of mirror self-recognition (i.e., do they know that the person in the mirror is their own reflection).

They found that although the autistic children did not differ from the younger, typically developing children in the amount of time spent looking at their own faces, but that they did spend a lot more time looking at objects in the mirror, and that their behavior toward their reflections differed from that of either control group. The autistic children did not generally try to relate socially to the person in the mirror; what they did instead varied according

Who's That in the Mirror? Autism and the Developing Sense of Self

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A small, exploratory British study of preschoolers with either autism or Down syndrome and typically developing toddlers looked at how each group of children acted toward their reflections in a mirror. They looked for trends, both group trends (i.e., how do autistic children differ from their non-autistic developmental peers, represented in different ways by the Down syndrome group and the younger typically developing group, whose chronological age matched the developmental ages found for both developmentally-disabled groups), and within-group trends relating mirror behavior to performance on a test of mirror self-recognition (i.e., do they know that the person in the mirror is their own reflection).

They found that although the autistic children did not differ from the younger, typically developing children in the amount of time spent looking at their own faces, but that they did spend a lot more time looking at objects in the mirror, and that their behavior toward their reflections differed from that of either control group. The autistic children did not generally try to relate socially to the person in the mirror; what they did instead varied according to whether they recognized their own mirror images or not.
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to whether they recognized their own mirror images or not.
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