Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 501–512 | Cite as

Temporal Coordination of Joint Attention Behavior in Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Petra Warreyn
  • Herbert Roeyers
  • Ulla Van Wetswinkel
  • Isabel De Groote
Original Paper


The current study investigated initiating and following declarative joint attention, and initiating requesting joint attention in a group of preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and an age-matched control group. Different forms of joint attention were elicited while children interacted with their mothers. Temporal coordination of the children's joint attention behavior was examined using three levels of coding. Children with ASD showed less but similar requesting abilities and slower point following combined with an abnormal behavioral pattern of looking at the other person's pointing finger instead of the object pointed at. Initiating declarative behavior was qualitatively and quantitatively different, characterized by isolated instances of communication instead of a fluent shift of attention between object and person.


Autism spectrum disorder Preschool Social communication Joint attention 



The authors wish to thank the children and parents who invested their time to participate in this study. We are also grateful to the staff of the Antwerp University Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, for their practical and logistic support. This research was funded by the Ghent University Research Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petra Warreyn
    • 1
  • Herbert Roeyers
    • 1
  • Ulla Van Wetswinkel
    • 2
  • Isabel De Groote
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Group Developmental DisordersGhent UniversityGentBelgium
  2. 2.Antwerp University Center for Child and Adolescent PsychiatryAntwerpBelgium

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