Get access

Assessing Joint Attention Responding and Initiation in Children with Angelman Syndrome



Background  Angelman syndrome (AS) is a rare neurogenetic disorder that overlaps with autism and is associated with severe cognitive, speech and motor impairments. Communication and social deficits are found among children with AS, both of which may be linked to impairments in joint attention.

Methods  The participants in this study were four children with a genetically confirmed diagnosis of AS, aged 5–10. Children’s joint attention responding and initiation were measured using a modified version of a structured assessment protocol from MacDonald et al. (2006).

Results  Children’s ability to respond to joint attention bids was less impaired than their ability to initiate joint attention.

Conclusions  Differences in children’s response patterns are discussed in relation to their characteristics on measures of cognitive, adaptive and language functioning as well as on a measure of autistic symptomatology. A better understanding of the nature of joint attention deficits in children with AS may assist with developing remedial approaches to improve their communication and social skills.