Portable Intermodal Preferential Looking (IPL): Investigating Language Comprehension in Typically Developing Toddlers and Young Children with Autism

Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut.
Journal of Visualized Experiments (Impact Factor: 1.33). 12/2012; 70(70). DOI: 10.3791/4331
Source: PubMed


One of the defining characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is difficulty with language and communication.1 Children with ASD's onset of speaking is usually delayed, and many children with ASD consistently produce language less frequently and of lower lexical and grammatical complexity than their typically developing (TD) peers.6,8,12,23 However, children with ASD also exhibit a significant social deficit, and researchers and clinicians continue to debate the extent to which the deficits in social interaction account for or contribute to the deficits in language production.5,14,19,25
Standardized assessments of language in children with ASD usually do include a comprehension component; however, many such comprehension tasks assess just one aspect of language (e.g., vocabulary),5 or include a significant motor component (e.g., pointing, act-out), and/or require children to deliberately choose between a number of alternatives. These last two behaviors are known to also be challenging to children with ASD.7,12,13,16
We present a method which can assess the language comprehension of young typically developing children (9-36 months) and children with autism.2,4,9,11,22 This method, Portable Intermodal Preferential Looking (P-IPL), projects side-by-side video images from a laptop onto a portable screen. The video images are paired first with a 'baseline' (nondirecting) audio, and then presented again paired with a 'test' linguistic audio that matches only one of the video images. Children's eye movements while watching the video are filmed and later coded. Children who understand the linguistic audio will look more quickly to, and longer at, the video that matches the linguistic audio.2,4,11,18,22,26
This paradigm includes a number of components that have recently been miniaturized (projector, camcorder, digitizer) to enable portability and easy setup in children's homes. This is a crucial point for assessing young children with ASD, who are frequently uncomfortable in new (e.g., laboratory) settings. Videos can be created to assess a wide range of specific components of linguistic knowledge, such as Subject-Verb-Object word order, wh-questions, and tense/aspect suffixes on verbs; videos can also assess principles of word learning such as a noun bias, a shape bias, and syntactic bootstrapping.10,14,17,21,24 Videos include characters and speech that are visually and acoustically salient and well tolerated by children with ASD.

Download full-text


Available from: Letitia R Naigles, Feb 04, 2014
    • "Calub, Saffran, & Litovsky, 2009; Venker, 2013), but some studies have required that children contribute data on more than half of test trials, with missing trials replaced by mean values for that age and condition (Piotroski & Naigles, 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Eye-gaze methods have the potential to advance the study of neurodevelopmental disorders. Despite their increasing use, challenges arise in using these methods with individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and in reporting sufficient methodological detail, such that the resulting research is replicable and interpretable. Method: This tutorial presents key considerations involved in designing and conducting eye-gaze studies for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and proposes conventions for reporting the results of such studies. Results: Methodological decisions (e.g., whether to use automated eye tracking or manual coding, implementing strategies to scaffold children's performance, defining valid trials) have cascading effects on the conclusions drawn from eye-gaze data. Research reports that include specific information about procedures, missing data, and selection of participants will facilitate interpretation and replication. Conclusions: Eye-gaze methods provide exciting opportunities for studying neurodevelopmental disorders. Open discussion of the issues presented in this tutorial will improve the pace of productivity and the impact of advances in research on neurodevelopmental disorders.
    Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research 09/2015; DOI:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0304 · 2.07 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "A digital camera , focused on the child ' s face , was placed centrally below the screen aligned with the child and adjusted for indi - vidual height and choice of seating arrangement . The speaker projecting the auditory stimuli was located behind the projection screen and also aligned centrally with the digital camera and child ( Naigles and Tovar , 2012 ) . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Young typically developing (TD) children have been observed to utilize word learning strategies such as the noun bias and shape bias; these improve their efficiency in acquiring and categorizing novel terms. Children using the shape bias extend object labels to new objects of the same shape; thus, the shape bias prompts the categorization of object words based on the global characteristic of shape over local, discrete details. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) frequently attend to minor details of objects rather than their global structure. Therefore, children with ASD may not use shape bias to acquire new words. Previous research with children with ASD has provided evidence that they parallel TD children in showing a noun bias, but not a shape bias (Tek et al., 2008). However, this sample was small and individual and item differences were not investigated in depth. In an extension of Tek et al. (2008) with twice the sample size and a wider developmental timespan, we tested 32 children with ASD and 35 TD children in a longitudinal study across 20 months using the intermodal preferential looking paradigm. Children saw five triads of novel objects (target, shape-match, color-match) in both NoName and Name trials; those who looked longer at the shape-match during the Name trials than the NoName trials demonstrated a shape bias. The TD group showed a significant shape bias at all visits, beginning at 20 months of age while the language-matched ASD group did not show a significant shape bias at any visit. Within the ASD group, though, some children did show a shape bias; these children had larger vocabularies concurrently and longitudinally. Degree of shape bias elicitation varied by item, but did not seem related to perceptual complexity. We conclude that shape does not appear to be an organizing factor for word learning by children with ASD.
    Frontiers in Psychology 04/2015; 6:446. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00446 · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mandarin wh-words shenme ‘what’ and shei ‘who’ can convey both question readings and statement readings, a distinction of which is subject to intonation cues (rising intonation vs. level intonation) in ambiguous sentences, or is influenced by semantic contexts in unambiguous sentences. In this study, we investigated the interpretation of wh-words in 4–15-year-old Mandarin-speaking high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), as a comparison to typically developing (TD) children. The results showed that older children with ASD demonstrated unimpaired knowledge of the access to both readings, either by using intonation cues in ambiguous sentences or via semantic contexts in unambiguous sentences. However, compared to TD controls and older children with ASD, younger children with ASD appeared to have more difficulties with accessing the statement readings of these wh-words, though they had no problems with the question readings. To sum up, the experimental findings demonstrated children with ASD's relative strengths in understanding these linguistic properties specific to the interpretation of the Mandarin wh-words, though a complete capture of this knowledge is subject to a developmental effect. We discussed the results from the perspective the contribution the language faculty makes to language acquisition in children with ASD.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 10/2014; 8(10):1364–1372. DOI:10.1016/j.rasd.2014.07.008 · 2.96 Impact Factor
Show more