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 01/2012; DOI: 10.3791/4331
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.


Available from: Letitia R Naigles, Feb 04, 2014
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    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.
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