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Keywords:

  • Autism;
  • joint attention;
  • requesting;
  • eye-contact

Abstract A procedure previously used to investigate imperative communication in non-human primates was applied to young children, some of whom had autism. The goal was to examine closely how requests are made in a problem-solving situation. Each child's spontaneous strategies to obtain an out-of-reach object were analyzed in terms of the ways in which he or she used the adult who was present. Results showed that fewer children with autism used a strategy of treating the person as a “subject”, and that more children with autism used object-centred strategies.