Behavioral and Physiological Responses to Child-Directed Speech of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders or Typical Development
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- Watson, L.R., Roberts, J.E., Baranek, G.T. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2012) 42: 1616. doi:10.1007/s10803-011-1401-z
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Young boys with autism were compared to typically developing boys on responses to nonsocial and child-directed speech (CDS) stimuli. Behavioral (looking) and physiological (heart rate and respiratory sinus arrhythmia) measures were collected. Boys with autism looked equally as much as chronological age-matched peers at nonsocial stimuli, but less at CDS stimuli. Boys with autism and language age-matched peers differed in patterns of looking at live versus videotaped CDS stimuli. Boys with autism demonstrated faster heart rates than chronological age-matched peers, but did not differ significantly on respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Reduced attention during CDS may restrict language-learning opportunities for children with autism. The heart rate findings suggest that young children with autism have a nonspecific elevated arousal level.