Autism and Imitation: Nurturing Joy – 25th May

Is it really true that people with autism can’t interact with other people?  Absolutely not.  However, it is true that the world that our society asks them to live in can make it harder for them to feel comfortable interacting.

This talk discussed the work that Suzanne Zeedyk’s research team has been conducting on the use of imitation to help make connection with children and adults with autism.  Using their own body language (imitating) quickly yields unexpected levels of joy and laughter — for both the autistic person and their communication partner.

The talk explored what such outcomes tell us about the ’causes’ and the ‘treatment’ of autism, both of which remain significant problems for science, because it is still far from clear what causes autism, despite the rapidly increasing prevalence of this condition.

The outcomes of this challenge some of the standard views of autism, and they also link in intriguing ways to other types of communicative impairments, such as learning disabilities, children with a history of severe neglect, and dementia.  The discussion during the evening was wide ranging and stimulating!