Paola Venuti, Gianluca Esposito

How do children with autism cry?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Cry, autism, distress, cry perception, atypical cry.

A previous study (Venuti et al., 2002) showed that the capability of expressing distress is affected in children with autism. Indeed they seem to express distress through few episodes of cry of atypical characteristics. In this study we have designed and applied a structured experiment and a questionnaire to verify whether the atypical structure of autistic cry can bias the parents' perception. The atypical structure of autistic cry was confirmed. This cry structure affects its comprehensibility from parents' perspective. The questionnaire results indicate that autistic children cry is unjustified and inexplicable for their own parents. These results support the view of the autism as related to a problem of expressing and sharing emotions (Trevarthen, 1998; Greenspan, 1997). Parents' reactions to autistic cry are qualitatively different from the ones of non-autistic children of the same age. This difference is an additional cause of difficulty in sharing feelings and developing inter-subjectivity processes.

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