The role of maternal input in the development of wh-question comprehension in autism and typical development

Journal of Child Language (Impact Factor: 1.41). 01/2014; 42(1):1-32. DOI: 10.1017/S0305000913000524
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT ABSTRACT Social deficits have been implicated in the language delays and deficits of children with autism (ASD); thus, the extent to which these children use language input in social contexts similarly to typically developing (TD) children is unknown. The current study investigated how caregiver input influenced the development of wh-question comprehension in TD children and language-matched preschoolers with ASD. Children were visited at four-month intervals over 1.5 years; mother-child play sessions at visits 1-2 were coded for maternal wh-question use. At visits 3-5 children watched videos in the Intermodal Preferential Looking paradigm, to assess their comprehension of subject and object wh-questions. Mothers' use of wh-questions with verbs and complex wh-questions positively predicted wh-question comprehension in the TD group; in contrast, mothers' use of wh-questions with 'be' as the main verb negatively predicted wh-question comprehension in the ASD group. Thus, TD children and children with ASD appear to use their linguistic input differently.

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