Development of a measure of social and nonsocial behaviours in infancy

PI: Dr Angelica Ronald (Birkbeck, University of London)
Funding: Birkbeck Faculty of Science

Many parents will testify that their children are very social from a young age, displaying lots of interest in people and that they enjoy looking at others’ faces. Apart from social behaviours, young children also display ‘nonsocial’ behaviours such as repetitive movements and preferences for certain types of toys and objects. These social and non-social aspects of behaviour in early childhood are known to differ in children who develop autism spectrum disorders and in typically developing children. The aim of this study is to develop a simple short measure of social and non-social behaviours. We are asking parents in the ‘longitudinal study of infant siblings’ to complete this measure when the siblings are 18 and 24 months old. The measure takes 10 minutes to complete and is suitable for both typically developing children and children who might later go on to develop an autism spectrum disorder. The findings from this study will help us to understand the nature of the relationship between the types of social and non-social behaviours shown in early childhood.