Deborah Fein

Deborah Fein
University of Connecticut | UConn · Department of Psychology

About

300
Publications
99,707
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
15,588
Citations

Publications

Publications (300)
Article
Full-text available
This paper addresses the hypothesis that autism spectrum disorder features follow multiple long-term developmental trajectories, including an absence of symptoms that were present in childhood, by the time of adolescence. In early work on this topic, this circumstance was called an ‘optimal outcome’. To better reflect the reality of multiple excell...
Article
Full-text available
Background Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrate social and communication impairments from an early age. While researchers have long investigated parenting behaviors in relation to children’s social and communication development, fewer studies have examined the relevance of movement-based parenting behaviors to facilitating commu...
Article
Full-text available
This study probed for structural language impairment using behavioral and functional neuroimaging methods in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and those diagnosed with ASD in childhood who no longer meet criteria for ASD, referred to as Loss of Autism Diagnosis (LAD¹). Participants were drawn from Fein et al. (2013): ASD (n = 35), LAD...
Article
Full-text available
This study probed for structural language impairment using behavioral and functional neuroimaging methods in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and those diagnosed with ASD in childhood who no longer meet criteria for ASD, referred to as Loss of Autism Diagnosis (LAD). Participants were: ASD (n = 35), LAD (n = 31), and Neurotypical (NT...
Preprint
Background: Language development is a highly interactive activity. However, most research on linguistic environment has focused on quantity and complexity of linguistic input to children, with current models showing that complexity facilitates language in both TD children and autistic children.Aims: We investigate the presence and sensitivity of ca...
Article
Objective: Given the high population prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and overlapping symptoms with medically complex groups, ASD is a common rule out diagnosis for neuropsychologists even when not identified in the referral or initial presenting concerns. This paper presents practical guidance to support neuropsychologists in their abi...
Article
Full-text available
Background Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects one in 54 children in the United States of America, and supporting people with ASD across the lifespan presents challenges that impact individuals, families, and communities and can be quite costly. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued recommendations for routine ASD screening at 18 and 24...
Article
Full-text available
The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised, with Follow-Up (M-CHAT-R/F) is the most widely used screener for ASD. Despite the comparable rate of ASD in Black and White children, the M-CHAT-R/F was validated on a primarily White, Non-Hispanic sample. Few studies have assessed whether the screener performs adequately with racial minoritie...
Article
Categorical induction abilities are robust in typically developing (TD) preschoolers, while children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) frequently perform inconsistently on tasks asking for the transference of traits from a known category member to a new example based on shared category membership. Here, TD five-year-olds and six-year-olds with A...
Article
Full-text available
Aims Postural variability is central to children’s locomotion, motor control, and environmental exploration, and lacks standardized methods for systematic assessment. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate the feasibility and interrater reliability of Child Posture Variability Coding (CPVC), a method of quantifying postural variabili...
Chapter
This custom collection consists of important studies, expert recommendations, and practice pathways that inform pediatricians on practical ways to improve the lives of children with ASD and their families. https://shop.aap.org/pediatric-collections-autism-spectrum-disorder-paperback/
Chapter
This custom collection consists of important studies, expert recommendations, and practice pathways that inform pediatricians on practical ways to improve the lives of children with ASD and their families. https://shop.aap.org/pediatric-collections-autism-spectrum-disorder-paperback/
Article
Lay abstract: The emergence of autism symptoms in childhood is variable, with some children showing signs of autism spectrum disorder very early, and others not being identified until much later. Although most children in the United States are not diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder until preschool, at ages 3-4 years, symptoms can be reliably...
Article
Producing pronouns involves linguistic and social-cognitive knowledge because children must learn words and understand pronouns’ changing referents. This study examined pronoun production longitudinally in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; n = 15), whose social-cognition might impair pronoun use, and in typically developing (TD; n...
Article
Objective: Most autism spectrum disorder (ASD) screening measures have been developed for use with low-risk (LR) children; however, measures may perform differently in high-risk (HR) younger sibling populations. The current study sought to investigate the performance of an ASD screening measure, the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revis...
Article
Full-text available
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) screening at 18 and 24 months. However, utility of rescreening at 24 months, after a negative 18-month screening, remains unknown. We identified cases of ASD detected at 24 months after a negative 18-month screening (i.e., Catch-24 group; n = 10) and compared them to toddl...
Article
Full-text available
The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), (Schopler et al. in J Autism Dev Disord 10(1):91–103, 1980) is a 15-item observation-based rating scale that yields a total score reflective of autism symptom severity. This study investigated the factor structure of the CARS in a sample of 2-year-old children with DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Associatio...
Article
Full-text available
Parent satisfaction with neurodevelopmental evaluations may influence the pursuit of intervention. Parent satisfaction with a neurodevelopmental evaluation for toddlers at risk for autism (n = 257; 128 with autism) was examined using the Post-Evaluation Satisfaction Questionnaire, which collected quantitative and qualitative information. Fewer ethn...
Article
Full-text available
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnostic tools are not designed for mental ages (MA) below 12 months. Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) were examined in 2-year-olds with ASD-low MA (n = 53), Global Developmental Delay (GDD; n = 175), and ASD-higher MA (n = 425). ADOS and CARS demonstrated simila...
Article
Background: Behavioral intervention with parent participation is effective in reducing symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but access to intervention is limited. The current study explored whether a video-enriched parent-training program would (a) be comprehensible and acceptable to parents in the Republic of Albania, (b) increase parental...
Article
Research on sex differences in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suggests both higher prevalence and a more easily observable presentation of core ASD symptomology in males, which may lead to sex differences in parental concerns. The current study examined whether sex and diagnosis relate to the timing, number, and types of pre-diagnosis concerns for...
Article
Full-text available
Some children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) exhibit low mental age (Low-MA; i.e., cognitive functioning below 12 months). We examined diagnosis, symptom severity, and development in children with ASD-low MA (n = 25), autistic disorder (n = 111), and PDD-NOS (n = 82) at ages two and four. We predicted that some ASD-low MA children would demo...
Article
Full-text available
Early autism research focused on behavior and cognition. In recent decades, the pace of research has accelerated, and advances in imaging and genetics have allowed the accumulation of biological data. Nevertheless, a coherent picture of the syndrome at either phenotypic or biological level has not emerged. We see two fundamental obstacles to progre...
Article
Full-text available
Background: There are unique challenges associated with measuring development in early childhood. Two primary sources of information are used: parent report and direct assessment. Each approach has strengths and weaknesses, particularly when used to identify and diagnose developmental delays. The present study aimed to evaluate consistency between...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper examines the use of iconic words in early conversations between children and caregivers. The longitudinal data include a span of six observations of 35 children-parent dyads in the same semi-structured activity. Our findings show that children's speech initially has a high proportion of iconic words, and over time, these words become dil...
Article
Full-text available
Compared to typically developing children, children with autism (ASD) show delayed production of wh-questions. It is currently controversial the degree to which such deficits derive from social-pragmatic requirements and/or because these are complex grammatical structures. The current study employed the intermodal preferential looking (IPL) paradig...
Article
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are usually lifelong with wide ranging functional outcomes. Intensive behavioral intervention, implemented early, can improve outcome significantly. Some individuals, often with milder symptoms, if treated early, can attain social, cognitive, educational, and vocational functioning in the typical range. To qualify,...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales use parental report to examine communication and social skills in children with typical and atypical development, and exhibit high reliability when compared against overall direct testing. However, findings are mixed comparing Vineland communication/language scores with experimenter-administered te...
Article
Full-text available
The current study compared adaptive and cognitive skills, and autism severity of toddlers with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis under DSM-IV but not DSM-5 criteria (DSM-IV only group) to those who met autism criteria under both diagnostic systems (DSM-5 group) and to those without ASD (non-ASD group). The toddlers in the DSM-IV only grou...
Article
Full-text available
The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised-Albanian screener (M-CHAT-R-A) was used to screen 2594 toddlers, aged 16–30 months, at well-child visits. Two hundred fifty-three (9.75 %) screened positive; follow up on failed items were conducted by phone with 127 (50 %); the remainder were lost to follow-up. Twenty-six toddlers (21 %) contin...
Article
Full-text available
The study examines whether “optimal outcome” (OO) children, despite no longer meeting diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), exhibit personality traits often found in those with ASD. Nine zero acquaintance raters evaluated Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP) and Big Five personality traits of 22 OO individuals, 27 high functioning indiv...
Article
Objective: Characterization of academic functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), particularly predictors of achievement, may have important implications for intervention. The current study aimed to characterize achievement profiles, confirm associations between academic ability and concurrent intellectual and social skills, and...
Article
Social and linguistic explanations have been proposed for pronoun reversals in young typically developing (TD) children and those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The current study breaks new ground in investigating both explanations, comparing 18 TD toddlers and 15 children with ASD at similar language levels. Spontaneous speech was sampled e...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to form categories is fundamental to understanding the world. Although individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are frequently described as having poor categorization abilities, there are mixed findings across research studies. This study investigated the categorization abilities of 6-year-old children with ASD as compared to the...
Article
Purpose: This study examined narrative quality of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using a well-studied "story goodness" coding system. Method: Narrative samples were analyzed for distinct aspects of story goodness and rated by naïve readers on dimensions of story goodness, accuracy, cohesiveness, and oddness. Adolescents with hig...
Article
Full-text available
Although for many children, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong disability, a subset of children with ASD lose their diagnosis and show typical cognitive and adaptive abilities. The ages at which this transition can occur is not known, but it sometimes occurs quite early. Participants in the current study were 207 children with an ASD at a...
Article
Full-text available
Filler disfluencies-uh and um-are thought to serve distinct discourse functions. We examined fillers in spontaneous speech by youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who struggle with pragmatic language, and by youth with ASD who have achieved an 'optimal outcome' (OO), as well as in peers with typical development (TD). While uh rates did not di...
Article
Full-text available
Although Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is generally a lifelong disability, a minority of individuals with ASD overcome their symptoms to such a degree that they are generally indistinguishable from their typically-developing peers. That is, they have achieved an optimal outcome (OO). The question addressed by the current study is whether this norm...
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews current evidence for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) screening based on peer-reviewed articles published to December 2013. Screening provides a standardized process to ensure that children are systematically monitored for early signs of ASD to promote earlier diagnosis. The current review indicates that screening in children age...
Article
Full-text available
Early identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is essential to ensure that children can access specialized evidence-based interventions that can help to optimize long-term outcomes. Early identification also helps shorten the stressful "diagnostic odyssey" that many families experience before diagnosis. There have been important advances in...
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews current evidence for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) interventions for children aged < 3 years, based on peerreviewed articles published up to December 2013. Several groups have adapted treatments initially designed for older, preschool-aged children with ASD, integrating best practice in behavioral teaching methods into a devel...
Article
Full-text available
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impaired social communication skills and isolated areas of interest.1 The current prevalence of these disorders is estimated to be 1 in 68, 2 and recent estimates of the risk of recurrence in families with at least 1 child diagnosed with ASD are 10% to 19%.3-5 Advanc...
Article
Objective: Parents rely on pediatricians to monitor their child's development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine developmental screening with both broadband and autism-specific instruments at specified ages. If broadband screeners can detect autism risk, this might minimize the burden of administering autism-specific screens to...
Article
Both social input and facial feedback appear to be processed differently by individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We tested the effects of both of these types of input on laughter in children with ASD. Sensitivity to facial feedback was tested in 43 children with ASD, aged 8-14 years, and 43 typically developing children matched for ment...
Article
Full-text available
Since autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often comorbid with psychiatric disorders, children who no longer meet criteria for ASD (optimal outcome; OO) may still be at risk for psychiatric disorders. A parent interview for DSM-IV psychiatric disorders (K-SADS-PL) for 33 OO, 42 high-functioning autism (HFA) and 34 typically developing (TD) youth, ages...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Youth who lose their ASD diagnosis may have subtle social and communication difficulties. We examined social and communication functioning in 44 high-functioning autism (HFA), 34 optimal outcome (OO) and 34 typically developing (TD) youth. Results indicated that OO participants had no autism communication symptoms, no pragmatic language deficits, a...
Chapter
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a behavioral profile present in early childhood. ASDs are defined by deficits in communication and socialization, as well as the presence of restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. Among individuals with ASD, there is great heterogeneity in the severity and pres...
Article
Individuals with high-functioning autism (HFA) have a cognitive style that privileges local over global or gestalt details. While not a core symptom of autism, individuals with HFA seem to reliably show this bias. Our lab has been studying a sample of children who have overcome their early ASD diagnoses, showing “optimal outcomes” (OO). This study...
Article
Full-text available
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 compr...
Article
Studies of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) suggest that restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs) are particularly difficult to remediate. We examined present and past RRBs in 34 individuals who achieved optimal outcomes (OOs; lost their ASD diagnosis), 45 high-functioning individuals with ASD (HFA) and 34 typically developing (TD) peers. The OO...
Article
Full-text available
The comprehension of tense/aspect morphology by children with ASD was assessed via Intermodal Preferential Looking (IPL) to determine whether this population's difficulties with producing these morphemes extended to their comprehension. Four-year-old participants were assessed twice, four months apart. They viewed a video which presented side-by-si...
Article
Full-text available
Hierarchical cluster analyses were used to detect three subgroups in a sample of children with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) evaluated at ages 2 and 4. At age 2, Cluster 1 demonstrated few autism symptoms and high cognitive scores; 60 % no longer met criteria for PDD at 4. Cluster 2 exhibited more autism symptom...
Conference Paper
Background: The Positive Predictive Value (PPV) of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), a parent report early screening tool, is higher for males than for females (Ludwig et al., IMFAR 2011), and parents endorse different items on the M-CHAT based on sex (Ludwig et al., 2012). However, sex differences have not emerged on direct m...
Conference Paper
Background: Research in word learning strategies for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has shown that children with ASD parallel typically developing (TD) children with word learning strategies such as the noun bias and mutual exclusivity1. However, they have not been shown to display a shape bias, which occurs when children extend a n...
Conference Paper
Background: Emerging literature has indicated that a subset of children with a documented ASD lose their diagnosis and function in the average range of cognition and behavior. Multiple factors including intervention, symptom severity, adaptive functioning, motor skills and language abilities may help to predict positive outcomes. Prospective rese...
Conference Paper
Background: Although early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is generally stable over time, some toddlers diagnosed with ASD no longer meet criteria when they are older. In particular, some initially diagnosed with ASD are later diagnosed instead with Global Developmental Delay (GDD). This may be due to difficulty distinguishing between...
Conference Paper
Background: Language delay is a primary concern for many toddlers with ASD (DeGiacomo & Fombonne, 1998), and the presence of language before age 5 in this population is a powerful predictor of functional outcome (Anderson et al., 2009). Research using parent-report measures suggests that vocabulary in ASD is delayed but not deviant in composition (...
Conference Paper
Background: The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended autism screening for all children at 18 and 24 months, but empirical data are lacking to determine the added value of screening at two time points. Objectives: To investigate the incremental validity of a second screen at 24 months and compare children who screened positive on a secon...