• Autism;
  • social interaction;
  • social responsiveness;
  • caregiver-child interaction

Abstract The social interactions of young autistic children and their caregivers were contrasted to interactions involving normal and mentally retarded controls. The autistic children displayed a much lower frequency of attention sharing behaviors, such as pointing to or showing objects. Alternatively, the autistic children directed as much looking, vocalizing and proximity behaviors toward their caregivers as did the other groups. Thus, although the autistic children did not show a clear lack of responsiveness to their caregivers, they did display a significant deficit in indicating behaviors during child-caregiver interaction.