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Autisme et retard mental : etude de la communication sociale precoce


, : Autisme et retard mental : etude de la communication sociale precoce. Archives de Pediatrie 14(3): 234-238

Objective. - To determine developmental communication profiles in young autistic children with mental retardation.Methods. - A group of 19 autistic children (mean age = 43 months) were matched with a group of I I mentally retarded children (mean age = 3 9 months) on mental age (17,6 months). All of these children were without speech (less than 5 words of vocabulary). Communication skills were assessed with the Guidetti-Tourrette scales (ECSP), French adaptation of the Seibert-Hogan scales.Results. - Autistic children displayed a much lower score than mentally retarded children in the 3 functions of early social communication (behavior regulation, social interaction and joint attention). The developmental communication profiles was the same in the 2 groups.Discussion. - The results showed evidence of distortion in autistic children development: they displayed important deficits in communication skills, in comparison with cognitive skills. Autistic children mainly displayed requesting gestures: they used adults to help them to reach a goal, instead of regarding them as social partners. However, young children who have mental age less than 18 months mainly use the same functions of communication, with or without autistic trouble.Conclusions. - There is a same developmental sequence in communication skills in young children, with or without autistic trouble.

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