Exploring the relationship between gestural recognition and imitation: evidence of dyspraxia in autism spectrum disorders

Heidi Stieglitz Ham, Angela Bartolo, Martin Corley, G. Rajendran, Aniko Szabo, Sara Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, the relationship between gesture recognition and imitation was explored. Nineteen individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were compared to a control group of 23 typically developing children on their ability to imitate and recognize three gesture types (transitive, intransitive, and pantomimes). The ASD group performed more poorly than controls on all tasks of recognition and imitation. Higher performance on tests of working memory was associated with increased odds of successful imitation in both groups. Group differences remained even when working memory was statistically controlled for. An association was revealed in the ASD group between pantomime recognition and imitation but a similar association was not identified for intransitive gestures suggesting that recognition alone is not sufficient for imitation success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • autism spectrum disorders
  • dyspraxia
  • gestural recognition
  • imitation

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