To examine the prevalence and predictors of language attainment in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and severe language delay. We hypothesized greater autism symptomatology and lower intelligence among children who do not attain phrase/fluent speech, with nonverbal intelligence and social engagement emerging as the strongest predictors of outcome.
Data used for the current study were from 535 children with ASD who were at least 8 years of age (mean = 11.6 years, SD = 2.73 years) and who did not acquire phrase speech before age 4. Logistic and Cox proportionate hazards regression analyses examined predictors of phrase and fluent speech attainment and age at acquisition, respectively.
A total of 372 children (70%) attained phrase speech and 253 children (47%) attained fluent speech at or after age 4. No demographic or child psychiatric characteristics were associated with phrase speech attainment after age 4, whereas slightly older age and increased internalizing symptoms were associated with fluent speech. In the multivariate analyses, higher nonverbal IQ and less social impairment were both independently associated with the acquisition of phrase and fluent speech, as well as earlier age at acquisition. Stereotyped behavior/repetitive interests and sensory interests were not associated with delayed speech acquisition.
This study highlights that many severely language-delayed children in the present sample attained phrase or fluent speech at or after age 4 years. These data also implicate the importance of evaluating and considering nonverbal skills, both cognitive and social, when developing interventions and setting goals for language development.
"A substantial proportion of children with ASD, however, have structural language attainments that are significantly below chronological or mental age expectations [31,35], while a significant minority fail to develop meaningful phrase speech . While these children may have poorer social abilities, at least early in development, it is also possible that they experience co-occurring deficits in those aspects of perception, attention, phonological processing and learning that protect their ALN peers from more widespread LI. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Skilled sentence production involves distinct stages of message conceptualization (deciding what to talk about) and message formulation (deciding how to talk about it). Eye-movement paradigms provide a mechanism for observing how speakers accomplish these aspects of production in real time. These methods have recently been applied to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and specific language impairment (LI) in an effort to reveal qualitative differences between groups in sentence production processes. Findings support a multiple-deficit account in which language production is influenced not only by lexical and syntactic constraints, but also by variation in attention control, inhibition and social competence. Thus, children with ASD are especially vulnerable to atypical patterns of visual inspection and verbal utterance. The potential to influence attentional focus and prime appropriate language structures are considered as a mechanism for facilitating language adaptation and learning.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 01/2014; 369(1634):20120393. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2012.0393 · 7.06 Impact Factor
"Recent estimates suggest that approximately 20 – 30% of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) will not demonstrate functional speech (Anderson, Lord, Risi et al., 2007; Wodka, Mathy, & Kalb, 2013). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract There is a growing research literature on the potential benefits of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for individuals with autism; however few studies have investigated implementation of AAC within real-life contexts. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of training for practitioners in implementation of aided AAC, and to examine implementation of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) in real-life contexts. In particular, this study involved the implementation of instructional coaching to increase opportunities offered by behavioral therapists for their preschool-aged clients to use PECS to make requests. Results indicated increases in therapist implementation of AAC and client use of AAC in trained contexts, with limited generalization to untrained contexts.
Augmentative and alternative communication (Baltimore, Md.: 1985) 09/2013; 29(3):210-21. DOI:10.3109/07434618.2013.818058 · 2.59 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have reading profiles characterized by higher decoding skills and lower reading comprehension. This study assessed whether this profile was apparent in young children with ASD and examined concurrent and longitudinal predictors of early reading. A discrepant profile of reading (higher alphabet and lower meaning) was found in 62 % of this sample. Concurrent analyses revealed that reading proficiency was associated with higher nonverbal cognition and expressive language, and that social ability was negatively related to alphabet knowledge. Nonverbal cognition and expressive language at mean age 2½ years predicted later reading performance at mean age 5½ years. These results support the importance of early language skills as a foundation for reading in children with ASD.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 09/2013; 44(4). DOI:10.1007/s10803-013-1936-2 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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