Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 37–48 | Cite as

Response to Joint Attention in Toddlers at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Prospective Study

  • Michelle Sullivan
  • Julianna Finelli
  • Alison Marvin
  • Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer
  • Margaret Bauman
  • Rebecca Landa
Original Paper

Abstract

Response to joint attention (RJA) is impaired in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is pivotal to social and communication development. Response to joint attention was examined at 14 and 24 months in 51 children at high risk for autism (siblings of children with autism). Outcome groups at age 3 years included ASD (n = 16), broader autism phenotype (n = 8), and non-broader autism phenotype (n = 27). The ASD group made minimal improvement in RJA between 14 and 24 months, but stability of RJA across tasks increased for all three groups. Significantly, lower RJA was observed for the ASD group at 24 months. Response to joint attention performance at 14 months predicted ASD outcome. Response to joint attention is an important screening and early intervention target.

Keywords

Autism Joint attention Longitudinal Phenotype Siblings Social communication 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors express their gratitude for the funding provided by grants MH59630 and 154MH066417 (Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment) from the National Institute of Mental Health, funding from NIMH 5T32MH20033-07 (postdoctoral fellowship for Michelle Sullivan), and funding from Pathfinders for Autism, National Alliance for Autism Research, Cure Autism Now, and Coalition for Autism, awarded to Rebecca Landa (PI). We thank the families for their generous participation in and commitment to this research. Sincere appreciation is also expressed to staff, without whose efforts this research could not be executed: Sarah Beal, Cornelia Taylor, Jim Mancini, Allison Nelson, Amy Knecht, Julie Rusyniak, Seton Lindsay, Dana Christina, Laura Becker, Julie Cleary, Katherine Holman, Katie Owens, Amy Reese, Allison O’Neill, Amy Falk, Audrey Thurm, Melissa Martin, Kelley Shaw, Sharon Loza, Lesley Strunge, Kathryn Gleeson, Andrea Schanbacher, Andrea Golloher, Kirsten Basore, Kate Brooks, Monae Johnson, Sue Miller, Erica Gee, Juhi Pandey, and Rachel Weiman.

References

  1. American Psychological Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, A., Le Couteur, A., Gottesman, I., Bolton, P., Simonoff, E., Yuzda, E., et al. (1995). Autism as a strongly genetic disorder: Evidence from a British twin study. Psychological Medicine, 25, 63–77.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bakeman, R., & Adamson, L. B. (1984). Coordinating attention to people and objects in mother-infant and peer-infant interaction. Infant Behavior & Development, 55, 467–478.Google Scholar
  4. Baldwin, D. (1995). Infants’ ability to consult the speaker for clues to word reference. Journal of Child Language, 20, 395–418.Google Scholar
  5. Baron-Cohen, S. (1995). Mindblindness: An essay on autism and theory of mind. Cambridge: Bradford. MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Baron-Cohen, S., Baldwin, D., & Crowson, M. (1997). Do children with autism use the speaker’s direction of gaze strategy to crack the code of language? Child Development, 68, 48–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Butterworth, G. (1991). The ontogeny and phylogeny of joint visual attention. In A. Whiten (Ed.), Natural theories of mind: Evolution, development, and simulation of everyday mindreading. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Butterworth, G., & Grover, L. (1988). The origins of referential communication in human infancy. In L. Weiskrantz (Ed.), Thought without language (pp. 5–24). New York: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  9. Butterworth, G., & Grover, L. (1990). Joint visual attention, manual pointing, and preverbal communication in human infancy. In M. Jeannerod (Ed.), Attention and performance 13: Motor Representation and control (pp. 605–624). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. Butterworth, G., & Jarrett, N. (1991). What minds have in common is space: Spatial mechanisms serving joint visual attention in infancy. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9, 55–72.Google Scholar
  11. Carpenter, M., Nagell, K., & Tomasello, M. (1998). Social cognition, joint attention, and communicative competence from 9 to 15 months of age. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 6(4, Serial No. 176).Google Scholar
  12. Charman, T., Taylor, E., Drew, A., Cockerill, H., Brown, J., & 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, 46, 500–513.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Corkum, V., & Moore, V. (1995). Development of joint visual attention in infants. In C. Moore, & P. Dunham (Eds.), Joint attention: Its origins and role in development (pp. 61–83). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  14. Dawson, G., Munson, J., Estes, A., Osterling, J., McPartland, J., Toth, K., et al. (2002). Neurocognitive function and joint attention ability in young children with autism spectrum disorder versus developmental delay. Child Development, 73, 345–358.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dawson, G., Toth, K., Abbott, R., Osterling, J., Munson, J., Estes, A., et al. (2004). Early social attention impairments in autism: Social orienting, joint attention, and attention to distress. Developmental Psychology, 40, 271–283.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Deak G. O., Flom, R. A., & Pick, A. D. (2000). Effects of gesture and target on 12- and olds’ joint visual attention to objects in front of or behind them. Developmental Psychology, 36, 511–523.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DiLavore, P. C., Lord, C., & Rutter, M. (1995). Pre-linguistic autism diagnostic observation schedule. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 25, 355–379.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Folstein, S. E., & Rutter, M. (1977). Infantile autism: A genetic study of 21 twin pairs. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 18, 297–321.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Folstein, S. E., Santangelo, S. L., Gilman, S. E., Piven, J., Landa, R. Lainhart, J., et al. (1999). Predictors of cognitive test patterns in autism families. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40, 1117–1128.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fombonne, E., Bolton, P., Prior, J., Jorda, H., & Rutter, M. (1997). A family study of autism: Cognitive patterns and levels in parents and siblings. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 667–683.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goldberg, W. A., Jarvis, K. L., Osann, K., Laulhere, T. M., Straub, C., Thomas, E., et al. (2005). Brief report: Early social communication behaviors in the younger siblings of children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35, 657–664.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hollingshead, A. B. (1975). Four Factor Index of Social Status. New Haven: Yale University.Google Scholar
  23. Kasari, C., Freeman, S. F. N., & Paparella, T. (2006). Joint attention and symbolic play in young children with autism: A randomized controlled intervention study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 611–620.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Klin, A., Lang, J., Cicchetti, D. V., & Volkmar, F. R. (2000). Interrater reliability of clinical diagnosis and DSM-IV criteria for autistic disorder: Results of the DSM-IV autism field trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 163–167.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Landa, R. (2005, October). Jumpstarting social and communication development in autism through early intervention. Presented at The MIND Institute, University of California, Davis.Google Scholar
  26. Landa, R., Holman, K., & Garrett-Mayer, E. (in press). Social and communication development in toddlers with early and later diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry.Google Scholar
  27. Landa, R., & Garrett-Mayer, E. (2006). Development in infants with autism spectrum disorders: A prospective study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 629–638.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Landa, R., Folstein, S., & Isaacs, C. (1991). Spontaneous narrative discourse performance of parents of autistic individuals. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 34, 1339–1345.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Landa, R., Piven, J., Wzorek, M. M., Gayle, J. O., Chase, G. A., & Folstein, S. E. (1992). Social language use in parents of autistic individuals. Psychological Medicine, 22, 245–254.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Le Couteur, A., Bailey, A., Goode, S., Pickles, A., Robertson, S., Gottesman, I., et al. (1996). A broader phenotype of autism: The clinical spectrum in twins. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 37, 785–801.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leekam, S. R., & Ramsden, C. A. (2006). Dyadic orienting and joint attention in preschool children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36, 185–197.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lempers, J. D. (1979). Young children’s production and comprehension of nonverbal deictic behaviors. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 135, 93–102.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Leslie, A. M. (1987). Pretence and imagination: The origins of ‘theory of mind’. Psychological Review, 94, 412–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Loveland, K. A., & Landry, S. H. (1986). Joint attention and language in autism and developmental language delay. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 16, 335–349.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (1999). Autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS). Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  36. 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. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 659–685.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lord, C., & Schopler, E. (1989). Stability of assessment results of autistic and non-autistic language-impaired children from preschool years to early school age. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 30, 575–590.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Luyster, R., Richler, J., Risi, S., Hsu, W. L., Dawson, G., Bernier, R., et al. (2005). Early regression in social communication in autistic spectrum disorders: A CPEA study. Developmental Neuropsychology, 27, 311–336.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Moore, C., Angelopoulos, M., & Bennett, P. (1997). The role of movement in the development of joint visual attention. Infant Behavior and Development, 20, 83–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Morissette, P., Ricard, M., & Decarie, T. G. (1995). Joint visual attention and pointing infancy: A longitudinal study of comprehension. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 13, 163–175.Google Scholar
  41. Mullen, E. M. (1995). Mullen scales of early learning: AGS edition. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Services.Google Scholar
  42. Mundy, P., & Neal, R. (2001). Neural plasticity, joint attention, and a transactional social-orienting model of autism. International Review of Mental Retardation, 23, 139–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mundy, P., Sigman, M., Ungerer, J., & Sherman, T. (1986). Defining social deficits in autism: The contribution of non-verbal communication measures. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 27, 657–659.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Osterling, J., & Dawson, G. (1994). Early recognition of children with autism: A study of first birthday home videotapes. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 247–257.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Osterling, J., Dawson, G., & Munson, J. A. (2002). Early recognition of 1-year-old infants with autism spectrum disorders versus mental retardation. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 239–251.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pilowsky, T., Yirmiya, N., Shalev, R. S., & Gross-Tsur, V. (2003). Language abilities of siblings of children with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 914–925.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Robins, D. L., Fein, D., Barton, M. L., & Green, J. A. (2001). The modified checklist for autism in toddlers: An initial study investigating the early detection of autism and pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 131–144.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sigman, M., & Ruskin, E. (1999). Continuity and change in the social competence of children with autism, Down syndrome, and developmental delays. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 64 (1, Serial No. 256).Google Scholar
  49. Stone, W. L., Lee E. B., Ashford, L., Brissie, J., Hepburn, S. L., Coonrod, E. E., et al. (1999). Can autism be diagnosed accurately in children under 3 years?. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40, 219–226.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yirimiya, N., Gamliel, I., Pilowsky, T., Feldman, R., Baron-Cohen, S., & Sigman, M. (2006). The development of siblings of children with autism at 4 and 14 months: Social engagement, communication, and cognition. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 47, 511–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Werner, E., & Dawson, G. (2005). Validation of the phenomenon of autistic regression using home videotapes. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 889–895.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Werner, E., Dawson, G., Osterling, J., & Dinno, N. (2000). Brief report: Recognition of autism spectrum disorder before one year of age: A retrospective study based on home videotapes. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 157–162.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wetherby, A., & Prizant, B. (2002). Communication and symbolic behavior scales-developmental profile. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing, (First Normed Edition).Google Scholar
  54. Whalen, C., & Schreibman, L. (2003). Joint attention training for children with autism using behavior modification procedures. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 44, 456–468.Google Scholar
  55. Zimmerman, I. L., Steiner, V. G., & Pond, R. E. (1992). Preschool Language Scale-3. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  56. Zimmerman, I. L., Steiner, V. G., & Pond, R. E. (2002). Preschool Language Scale-4. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Sullivan
    • 1
  • Julianna Finelli
    • 2
  • Alison Marvin
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer
    • 3
  • Margaret Bauman
    • 4
  • Rebecca Landa
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute on Disability/UCEDUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Center for Autism and Related DisordersKennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Oncology and Biostatistics, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and Bloomberg School of Public HealthJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Pediatrics and NeurologyMassachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry, Center for Autism and Related DisordersKennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations