Advertisement

Language Predictors in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Insights from Neurodevelopmental Profile in a Longitudinal Perspective

  • Susana MougaEmail author
  • Bárbara Regadas Correia
  • Cátia Café
  • Frederico Duque
  • Guiomar Oliveira
Article

Abstract

Language outcome in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is predicted by early developmental milestones and cognitive abilities. The development and acquisition of expressive language (particularly the onset of first phrases) is a relevant clinical milestone by school age, since its early presentation is associated to better long-term life outcomes and to lower core clinical severity of ASD. Focusing on predictors of language in ASD children, a number of outstanding questions remain to be answered, namely, whether there are differences in the early key neurodevelopmental abilities and whether those differences in a specific period of time might predict verbal development and acquisition of expressive language. We aim to understand how the neurodevelopmental profile of ASD children evolves from the preschool to the school age and if and which subarea can better predict acquisition of expressive language. Children with ASD (N = 205) were evaluated with a structured assessment of neurodevelopment in two different age periods: 1) preschool period (mean age four years) and 2) reassessment in the school period (mean age seven years). Our findings demonstrate that in nonverbal preschool children with ASD normal or near normal Performance Developmental Quotient (superior to 73.5) evaluated at preschool age is a good predictor of later language development in ASD, which has important implications for intervention programs targeting this population and family information.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder Neurodevelopmental milestones Verbal ability Early neurodevelopmental predictor Griffiths mental development scales 

Notes

Funding

This research was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology: individual PhD scholarship: SFRH/BD/102779/2014 to SM and MEDPERSYST - Redes Sinápticas e abordagens compreensivas de medicina personalizada em doenças neurocomportamentais ao longo da vida (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016428) [postdoctoral fellowship to BRC]. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All authors have declared that no conflict of interests exists.

Ethical Approval

All the procedures in this study were reviewed in accordance with the ethical standards and approved by the Health Ethics Commission of our Hospital (Hospital Pediátrico, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra) and were conducted in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

The clinicians obtained informed consent from the parents/guardians of all younger participants. Children, when competent to do so, also gave oral informed consent. The database is approved by the Portuguese Data Protection Authority.

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th editio.). Arlington, US: American Psychiatric Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, D. K., Lord, C., Risi, S., DiLavore, P., Shulman, C., Thurm, A., et al. (2007). Patterns of growth in verbal abilities among children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(4), 594–604.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.75.4.594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Associação Portuguesa de Paralisia Cerebral. (n.d.). Instruções para aplicação das Escalas de Desenvolvimento de Ruth Griffiths, tradução e adaptação portuguesa (vol I e II). (A. P. de P. Cerebral, Ed.). Lisboa.Google Scholar
  4. Bhat, S., Acharya, U. R., Adeli, H., Bairy, G. M., & Adeli, A. (2014). Autism: Cause factors, early diagnosis and therapies. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 25(6), 841–850.  https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2014-0056.Google Scholar
  5. Billstedt, E., Carina Gillberg, I., & Gillberg, C. (2007). Autism in adults: Symptom patterns and early childhood predictors. Use of the DISCO in a community sample followed from childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 48(11), 1102–1110.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01774.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bondy, A. S., & Frost, L. A. (1994). The Picture Exchange Communication System. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 9(3), 1–19.  https://doi.org/10.1177/108835769400900301.Google Scholar
  7. Carter, M. T., & Scherer, S. W. (2013). Autism spectrum disorder in the genetics clinic: A review. Clinical Genetics, 83(5), 399–407.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cge.12101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders - Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, United States, 2006. MMWR Surveill Summ, 58(10), 1–20.Google Scholar
  9. Chakrabarti, S., & Fombonne, E. (2001). Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Preschool Children. JAMA, 285(24), 3093–3099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chakrabarti, S., & Fombonne, E. (2005). Pervasive developmental disorders in preschool children: confirmation of high prevalence. The American journal of psychiatry, 162(6), 1133–1141.  https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.162.6.1133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Charman, T., Baron-Cohen, S., Swettenham, J., Baird, G., Drew, A., & Cox, A. (2003). Predicting language outcome in infants with autism and pervasive developmental disorder. International journal of language & communication disorders / Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, 38(3), 265–285.  https://doi.org/10.1080/136820310000104830.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Charman, T., Taylor, E., Drew, A., Cockerill, H., Brown, J. A., & Baird, G. (2005). Outcome at 7 years of children diagnosed with autism at age 2: Predictive validity of assessments conducted at 2 and 3 years of age and pattern of symptom change over time. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 46(5), 500–513.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00377.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cirelli, I., Bickle Graz, M., & Tolsa, J. F. (2015). Comparison of Griffiths-II and Bayley-II tests for the developmental assessment of high-risk infants. Infant Behavior and Development, 41, 17–25.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2015.06.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ellis Weismer, S., & Kover, S. T. (2015). Preschool language variation, growth, and predictors in children on the autism spectrum. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 12, n/a-n/a.  https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12406.
  15. Ferreira, X., & Oliveira, G. (2016). Autism and Early Neurodevelopmental Milestones. Acta Medica Portuguesa, 29(3), 168–175.  https://doi.org/10.20344/amp.6790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fombonne, E. (2003). Epidemiological surveys of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders: an update. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33(4), 365–382 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12959416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gillberg, C., & Steffenburg, S. (1987). Outcome and prognostic factors in infantile autism and similar conditions: a population-based study of 46 cases followed through puberty. J Autism Dev Disord, 17(2), 273–287 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=3610999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Griffiths, R. (1984). The Abilities of young children. London: University of London press.Google Scholar
  19. Howlin, P., Mawhood, L., & Rutter, M. (2000). Autism and Developmental Receptive Language Disorder—a Follow-up Comparison in Early Adult Life. II: Social, Behavioural, and Psychiatric Outcomes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41(5), 561–578.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1469-7610.00643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Johnson, C. J., Beitchman, J. H., & Brownlie, E. B. (2010). Twenty-year follow-up of children with and without speech-language impairments: Family, educational, occupational, and quality of life outcomes. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19(1), 51–65.  https://doi.org/10.1044/1058-0360(2009/08-0083.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kover, S. T., Edmunds, S. R., & Ellis Weismer, S. (2016). Brief Report: Ages of Language Milestones as Predictors of Developmental Trajectories in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(7), 2501–2507.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2756-y.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Le Couteur, A., Lord, C., & Rutter, M. (2003). The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). Western Psychological Services: Los Angeles CA Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  23. Lord, C., & Rutter, M. (1999). Autism diagnostic observation schedule-WPS (ADOS-WPS). Los Angeles CA Western Psychological. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=Autism+Diagnostic+Observation+Schedule+–+WPS+%28ADOS-PS%29&btnG=Search&as_sdt=0%2C11&as_ylo=&as_vis=0#0
  24. Lord, C., Rutter, M., Goode, S., Heemsbergen, J., Jordan, H., Mawhood, L., & Schopler, E. (1989). Autism diagnostic observation schedule: a standardized observation of communicative and social behavior. J Autism Dev Disord, 19(2), 185–212 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=2745388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le Couteur, A. (1994). Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised: a revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. J Autism Dev Disord, 24(5), 659–685 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=7814313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Luyster, R. J., Kadlec, M. B., Carter, A., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2008). Language assessment and development in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(8), 1426–1438.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-007-0510-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Muglia, P., Filosi, M., Da Ros, L., Kam-Thong, T., Nardocci, F., Trabetti, E., et al. (2018). The Italian autism network (ITAN): a resource for molecular genetics and biomarker investigations. BMC psychiatry, 18(1), 369.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-018-1937-y.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Mundy, P., Sigman, M., & Kasari, C. (1990). A longitudinal study of joint attention and language development in autistic children. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 20(1), 115–128.  https://doi.org/10.1007/bf02206861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Oliveira, G., Ataíde, A., Marques, C., Miguel, T. S., Coutinho, A. M., Mota-Vieira, L., et al. (2007). Epidemiology of autism spectrum disorder in Portugal: prevalence, clinical characterization, and medical conditions. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 49(10), 726–733 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17880640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Paul, R., Chawarska, K., Cicchetti, D., & Volkmar, F. (2008). Language outcomes of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders: A two year follow-up. Autism Research, 1(2), 97–107.  https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.12.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Pickett, E., Pullara, O., O’Grady, J., & Gordon, B. (2009). Speech acquisition in older nonverbal individuals with autism: a review of features, methods, and prognosis. Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology, 22(1), 1–21.  https://doi.org/10.1097/WNN.0b013e318190d185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sigman, M., & McGovern, C. W. (2005). Improvement in cognitive and language skills from preschool to adolescence in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35(1), 15–23.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-004-1027-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sutera, S., Pandey, J., Esser, E. L., Rosenthal, M. A., Wilson, L. B., Barton, M., et al. (2007). Predictors of optimal outcome in toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(1), 98–107.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0340-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Szatmari, P., Bryson, S. E., Boyle, M. H., Streiner, D. L., & Duku, E. (2003). Predictors of outcome among high functioning children with autism and Asperger syndrome. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 44(4), 520–528 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=12751844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tager-Flusberg, H., & Kasari, C. (2013). Minimally verbal school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder: The neglected end of the spectrum. Autism Research, 6(6), 468–478.  https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thunberg, G. (2013). Early Communication Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Recent Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorders - Volume I.  https://doi.org/10.5772/54881.
  37. Thurm, A., Lord, C., Lee, L.-C., & Newschaffer, C. (2007). Predictors of Language Acquisition in Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(9), 1721–1734.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0300-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Venter, A., Lord, C., & Schopler, E. (1992). A follow-up study of high-functioning autistic children. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 33(3), 489–507 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=1577895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wodka, E. L., Mathy, P., & Kalb, L. (2013). Predictors of Phrase and Fluent Speech in Children With Autism and Severe Language Delay. Pediatrics, 131(4), e1128–e1134.  https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2012-2221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yoder, P., Watson, L. R., & Lambert, W. (2015). Value-Added Predictors of Expressive and Receptive Language Growth in Initially Nonverbal Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(5), 1254–1270.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2286-4.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNC.IBILI – Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Life Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Neurodevelopmental and Autism Unit from Child Developmental Center and Centro de Investigação e Formação Clínica, Hospital PediátricoCentro Hospitalar e Universitário de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.CIBIT - Coimbra Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Translational ResearchUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Department Quantitative Methods and Information and Management SystemsCoimbra Business SchoolCoimbraPortugal
  5. 5.Unidade de Neurodesenvolvimento e Autismo do Serviço do Centro de Desenvolvimento da Criança, Pediatric HospitalCentro Hospitalar e Universitário de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  6. 6.University Clinic of Pediatrics, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

Personalised recommendations