THANKS TO AN innovative program at Texas Woman’s, children with autism can now utter sounds — and even words — through imitation.

Imitation Therapy usually involves toys, but Cornaro Professor Jyutika Mehta and Professor Cynthia Gill-Sams of the Department of Communication Sciences and Oral Health have developed an alternative in which children mimic their parents.

“In as little as two weeks, children who had never made vocal sounds produced up to 30 vocalizations for the first time,” Mehta says. “One child who had never spoken began using 12 different words. Imitation Therapy is an incredibly effective and simple process that is also easily teachable.”

Their research is supported by a $450,508 grant for Parent-Led Imitation Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The TWU Logo

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Cornaro Professor Jyutika Mehta received the Kenneth Viste, Jr., M.D. Memorial Lectureship Award at the 2023 American Society of Neurorehabilitation.

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