Children with autism show reduced information seeking when learning new tasks

Published January 2016
Abstract
Information-seeking behaviours occur when children look to adults in order to gain further information about a novel stimulus/situation. The current study investigated information seeking in children with developmental delays (DD) and those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) during a simulated teaching situation. Twenty preschool-aged children with ASD and 15 children with DD were exposed to a series of videos where a teacher provided novel instructions and demonstrated novel actions. We found that children with DD, but not those with ASD, demonstrated information-seeking behaviours in response to instructions that exceeded their level of understanding. This suggests that children with DD may use information-seeking behaviours to compensate for their cognitive and language difficulties when novel actions are being taught, while the same is not true for children with ASD.
Citation
Young, N., Hudry, K., Trembath, D. & Vivanti, G. (2016). Children with autism show reduced information seeking when learning new tasks. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 121, 65-73. doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-121.1.65.

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