ERIC Number: EJ941062
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Drawing Self and Others: How Do Children with Autism Differ from Those with Learning Difficulties?
Lee, Anthony; Hobson, R. Peter
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, v24 n3 p547-565 Sep 2006
When children draw pictures of human beings, they reveal things not only about their general intellectual and artistic abilities, but also about their awareness and conception of themselves and others. What might the human figure drawings of children with autism reveal about their images of self and other--and what might they disclose about social factors that shape the drawings of children who do not have autism? On the basis of an hypothesis about the restricted social awareness of children and adolescents with autism, we predicted that there would be little differentiation between their drawings of themselves and other people. To test this prediction, we investigated a group of children and adolescents with autism and a group with learning difficulties but not autism (N=14 per group) who were individually matched for both chronological age and verbal mental age. Participants with autism mostly drew human figures that were little distinguished from one another, but introduced clear contrasts among their houses, whereas most of those with learning difficulties drew distinctive human figures as well as houses. These different profiles of performance occurred despite similarities in the numbers and kinds of feature included in the drawings, and the individuality of participants' drawing styles. Although the results were in keeping with our hypothesis that human figure drawings might reflect abnormalities in the way that children with autism mentally represent themselves and others, we conclude by stressing our tentativeness over this interpretation of the findings.
Descriptors: Learning Problems, Freehand Drawing, Autism, Adolescents, Interpersonal Competence, Children, Comparative Analysis, Developmental Psychology, Neurological Impairments
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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