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Zooming in on Interactions: A Micro-Analytic Approach Examining Triadic Interactions between Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Co-Participants

By: , , & Published: 2016 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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This case is a part of the first author's current PhD research on interactions involving children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are proposed to have difficulties in coordinating and sharing attention with a partner to an external (‘third’) object or a feature in the environment – also referred to as joint attention or triadic interaction. These issues have been mainly explored through observational methods, notably the coding of behaviours (e.g. gaze or point following) in attention-eliciting situations, and in experimental tasks measuring attention. The present case is also concerned with the understanding of social attention. Two approaches have been used to examine video recordings of children's interactions. First, we will describe our initial methodological choice to code children's responsiveness to adults' pointing gestures. Second, we will introduce a multimodal approach to Conversation Analysis, which we used to zoom in on the coded episodes. We demonstrate how this micro-analytic approach can complement coding and also show a different ‘picture’ when behaviours are examined in their detailed interactional contexts. As such, the case opens up a discussion about methodological issues in video-based research on social interactions.

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