Early Interests and Joint Engagement in Typical Development, Autism, and Down Syndrome

  • Lauren B. Adamson
  • Deborah F. Deckner
  • Roger Bakeman
Original Paper

Abstract

This study examines how spontaneous interests in people and in objects relate to joint engagement in typically developing toddlers and young children with autism or Down syndrome. Ratings of interests were made repeatedly during intermissions in a laboratory-based protocol focused on caregiver-child interactions. Interests were moderated by diagnosis and relatively stable across intermissions. In autism, interest in people tended to be low and to decline rapidly, and the balance of interests favored familiar objects over people. Lower interest in people and in unfamiliar objects was associated with less coordinated joint engagement and with less steep developmental trajectories for symbol-infused joint engagement. These findings suggest that variations in interests may contribute to differences in the child’s engagement during social interactions that facilitate the acquisition of language.

Keywords

Interests Parent–child interaction Autism Down syndrome Joint attention Communication development 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD35612). Portions of the study were presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies, Kyoto, 2006. The authors thank Barbara Dunbar, Pamela K. Rutherford, Janis Sayre, Kimberly M. McMillian, and Alicia Brady for their many contributions to this project. In addition we gratefully acknowledge the coders of this corpus, R. Michael Barker, Nicolle Angeli, Jana Pruett, Kelli Eastman, and Tonya Evans.

References

  1. Adamson, L. B. (1992). Variations in the early use of language. In L. T. Winegar & J. Valsiner (Eds.), Children’s development within social context, vol. 1: Metatheory and theory (pp. 123–141). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  2. Adamson, L. B., & Bakeman, R. (1998). The communication play protocol (Tech. Rep. No. 8). Atlanta: Georgia State University, Department of Psychology.Google Scholar
  3. Adamson, L. B., & Bakeman, R. (2006). The development of displaced speech in early mother-child conversations. Child Development, 77, 186–200.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Adamson, L. B., Bakeman, R., & Deckner, D. F. (2004). The development of symbol-infused joint engagement. Child Development, 75, 1171–1187.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Adamson, L. B., Bakeman, R., Deckner, D. F., & Romski, M. A. (2009). Joint engagement and the emergence of language in young children with autism and Down syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39, 84–96.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Adamson, L. B., McArthur, D., Markov, Y., Dunbar, B., & Bakeman, R. (2001). Autism and joint attention: Young children’s responses to maternal bids. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 22, 439–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Adamson, L. B., & Russell, C. L. (1999). Emotion regulation and the emergence of joint attention. In P. Rochat (Ed.), Early social cognition: Understanding others in the first months of life (pp. 281–297). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  8. Bakeman, R., Deckner, D. F., & Quera, V. (2005). Analysis of behavioral streams. In D. M. Teti (Ed.), Handbook of research methods in developmental science (pp. 394–420). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bakeman, R., & Gottman, J. M. (1997). Observing interaction: An introduction to sequential analysis (2nd ed. ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bates, E., Bretherton, I., & Snyder, L. (1988). From first words to grammar: Individual differences and dissociable mechanisms. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Berger, J., & Cunningham, C. C. (1981). The development of eye contact between mothers and normal versus Down’s syndrome infants. Developmental Psychology, 17, 678–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bruckner, C. T., & Yoder, P. (2007). Restricted object use in young children with autism: Definition and construct validity. Autism, 11, 161–171.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Bruner, J. (1983). Child’s talk: Learning to use language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Carr, E. G. (2007). Social skills that are not always social and problems that are not always problems. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 32, 110–111.Google Scholar
  15. Charman, T. (2003). Why is joint attention a pivotal skill in autism? Philosophical Transcripts of the Royal Society of London B, 358, 315–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20, 37–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cohen, J. (1968). Weighted kappa: Nominal scale agreement provision for scaled disagreement or partial credit. Psychological Bulletin, 70, 213–220.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  19. Crown, C. L., Feldstein, S., Jasnow, M. D., & Beebe, B. (1992). Down’s syndrome and infant gaze: Gaze behavior of Down’s syndrome and nondelayed infants in interactions with their mothers. European Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55, 51–55.Google Scholar
  20. Dawson, G., Meltzoff, A., Osterling, J., Rinaldi, J., & Brown, E. (1998). Children with autism fail to orient to naturally occurring social stimuli. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 28, 479–485.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 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.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Dawson, G., Webb, S. J., & McPartland, J. (2005). Understanding the nature of face processing impairment in autism: Insights from behavioral and electrophysiological studies. Developmental Neuropsychology, 27, 403–424.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Deckner, D. F., Adamson, L. B., & Bakeman, R. (2006). Child and maternal contributions to shared reading: Effects on language and literacy development. Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 31–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Escalona, S. K. (1968). The roots of individuality. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  25. Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Thal, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J. P., et al. (1993). MacArthur communicative development inventories. San Diego: Singular.Google Scholar
  26. Fidler, D. J. (2005). The emerging Down syndrome behavioral phenotype in early childhood. Infants & Young Children, 18, 86–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fidler, D. J., Barrett, K. C., & Most, D. E. (2005). Age-related differences in smiling and personality in Down syndrome. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 17, 263–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fleiss, J. L. (1981). Statistical methods for rates and proportions. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  29. Gibson, E. J. (1988). Exploratory behavior in the development of perceiving, acting, and the acquiring of knowledge. Annual Review of Psychology, 39, 1–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gopnik, A. (1988). Three types of early word. First Language, 8, 49–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hobson, R. P. (2000). The grounding of symbols: A social-developmental account. In P. Mitchell & K. J. Riggs (Eds.), Children’s reasoning and the mind (pp. 11–35). East Sussex, UK: Hove.Google Scholar
  32. Hunt, J. Mc. V. (1961). Intelligence and experience. New York: Ronald Press.Google Scholar
  33. Joseph, R. M., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (1997). An investigation of attention and affect in children with autism and Down syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 27, 385–396.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Kasari, C., Freeman, S. F., Mundy, P., & Sigman, M. D. (1995). Attention regulation by children with Down syndrome: Coordinated joint attention and social referencing looks. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 100, 128–136.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Kasari, C., Freeman, S., & 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.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Landry, R., & Bryson, S. E. (2004). Impaired disengagement of attention in young children with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 1115–1122.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Legerstee, M., & Bowman, T. G. (1989). The development of responses to people and a toy in infants with Down syndrome. Infant Behavior and Development, 12, 465–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Legerstee, M., & Weintraub, J. (1997). The integration of person and object attention in infants with and without Down syndrome. Infant Behavior and Development, 20, 71–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Long, J. (1996). Video coding system reference guide. Caroga Lake, NY: James Long Company.Google Scholar
  40. Lord, C., & Corsello, C. (2005). Diagnostic instruments in autistic spectrum disorders. In F. Volkmar, A. Klin, & R. Paul (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders (3rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 730–771). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  41. 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.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Moore, D. G., Oates, J. M., Hobson, R. P., & Goodwin, J. (2002). Cognitive and social factors in the development of infants with Down syndrome. Down Syndrome Research and Practice, 8, 43–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mullen, E. M. (1995). Mullen scales of early learning: AGS edition. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  44. Mundy, P. (1995). Joint attention and social-emotional approach behavior in children with autism. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 63–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nelson, K. (1979). The role of language in infant development. In M. H. Bornstein & W. Kessen (Eds.), Psychological development from infancy: Image to intention (pp. 307–337). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  46. Nelson, K. (1996). Language in cognitive development: Emergence of the mediated mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Osterling, J., Dawson, G., & Munson, J. (2002). Early recognition of one year old infants with autism spectrum disorder versus mental retardation: A study of first birthday party home videotapes. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 239–252.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Renninger, K. A., Hidi, S., & Krapp, A. (Eds.). (1992). The role of interest in learning and development. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  49. Romski, M., Sevcik, R., Adamson, L. B., Cheslock, M., Smith, A., Barker, R. M., & Bakeman, R. (in press). Randomized comparison of augmented and non-augmented language interventions for toddlers with developmental delays and their parents. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Google Scholar
  50. Silvia, P. J. (2006). Exploring the psychology of interest. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Slonims, V., & McConachie, H. (2006). Analysis of mother-infant interaction in infants with Down syndrome and typically developing infants. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 111, 273–289.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Swettemham, J., Baron-Cohen, S., Charman, T., Cox, A., Baird, G., Drew, A., et al. (1998). The frequency and distribution of spontaneous attention shifts between social and nonsocial stimuli in autistic, typically developing, and nonautistic developmentally delayed infants. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39, 747–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Toth, K., Munson, J., Meltzoff, A. N., & Dawson, G. (2006). Early predictors of communication development in young children with autism spectrum disorder: Joint attention, imitation, and toy play. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36, 993–1005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Werner, H., & Kaplan, B. (1963). Symbol formation. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  56. White, R. W. (1959). Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 66, 299–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Williams, E., Costall, A., & Reddy, V. (1999). Children with autism experience problems with both objects and people. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 29, 367–378.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Williams, E., Reddy, V., & Costall, A. (2000). Taking a closer look at functional play in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 67–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren B. Adamson
    • 1
  • Deborah F. Deckner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roger Bakeman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyClayton State UniversityMorrowUSA

Personalised recommendations