Brief Report

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 12, pp 2984-2989

First online:

Brief Report: Do the Nature of Communication Impairments in Autism Spectrum Disorders Relate to the Broader Autism Phenotype in Parents?

  • Lauren J. TaylorAffiliated withNeurocognitive Developmental Unit, School of Psychology, University of Western AustraliaTelethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia Email author 
  • , Murray T. MayberyAffiliated withNeurocognitive Developmental Unit, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia
  • , John WrayAffiliated withState Child Development Centre, Child and Adolescent Health Service, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children
  • , David RavineAffiliated withSchool of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • , Anna HuntAffiliated withTelethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia
  • , Andrew J. O. WhitehouseAffiliated withNeurocognitive Developmental Unit, School of Psychology, University of Western AustraliaTelethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia

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Abstract

Extensive empirical evidence indicates that the lesser variant of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) involves a communication impairment that is similar to, but milder than, the deficit in clinical ASD. This research explored the relationship between the broader autism phenotype (BAP) among parents, an index of genetic liability for ASD, and proband communication difficulties. ASD probands with at least one BAP parent (identified using the Autism Spectrum Quotient) had greater structural and pragmatic language difficulties (assessed using the Children’s Communication Checklist-2) than ASD probands with no BAP parent. This finding provides support for the position that genetic liability for ASD is associated with increased communication difficulties across structural and pragmatic domains.

Keywords

Heritable language phenotype Broader autism phenotype Communication impairment