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.


Available from: Letitia R Naigles, Jan 23, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although child maltreatment has often been described as leading to language deficits, the few well-controlled investigations of language acquisition in maltreated children have focused on language content rather than form, or have used qualitative rather than quantitative measures. This study examines syntactic complexity in 19 maltreated and 14 nonmaltreated preschool-aged children. Mother-child dyads participated in play sessions that were transcribed and scored for the presence of morphosyntactic forms in child speech and for specific sentence constructions in maternal speech. Findings indicated that child maltreatment was associated with language delay in both vocabulary and production of syntactic structures. There were also qualitative differences in characteristics of maternal utterances between maltreating and comparison groups. Because maltreatment initially occurred before age 2, this study highlights the long-lasting negative influence of maltreatment on language development and also provides the first demonstration of child language delays and differences in maternal speech within a single maltreatment sample.
    Developmental Science 03/2004; 7(1):88-102. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2004.00325.x · 3.89 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) can be difficult to diagnose in toddlers. This study compared diagnostic measures (ADOS-G, ADI-R, CARS, and clinical judgment using DSM-IV criteria) applied to toddlers. Results indicated that the ADOS-G, CARS, and clinical judgment agreed with each other but not with the ADI-R. Many of the children classified with ASD by the other measures were not classified with autism by the ADI-R because they did not display enough repetitive behaviors and stereotyped interests. These results indicate that young children with ASD may not display repetitive behaviors and stereotyped interests, and for toddlers, the ADI-R would have a higher sensitivity if revised to include a diagnosis of PDD-NOS, for which the requirement of repetitive behaviors is less stringent.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 11/2006; 36(7):839-47. DOI:10.1007/s10803-006-0128-8 · 3.34 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We explore whether children’s willingness to produce unfamiliar sequences of words reflects their experience with similar lexical patterns. We asked children to repeat unfamiliar sequences that were identical to familiar phrases (e.g., A piece of toast) but for one word (e.g., a novel instantiation of A piece of X, like A piece of brick). We explore two predictions—motivated by findings in the statistical learning literature—that children are likely to have detected an opportunity to substitute alternative words into the final position of a four-word sequence if (a) it is difficult to predict the fourth word given the first three words and (b) the words observed in the final position are distributionally similar. Twenty-eight 2-year-olds and thirty-one 3-year-olds were significantly more likely to correctly repeat unfamiliar variants of patterns for which these properties held. The results illustrate how children’s developing language is shaped by linguistic experience.
    Cognitive Science A Multidisciplinary Journal 03/2010; 34(3):465 - 488. DOI:10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01091.x · 2.59 Impact Factor