Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 172–186 | Cite as

Predictors of Parent Responsiveness to 1-Year-Olds At-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Jessica L. KinardEmail author
  • John Sideris
  • Linda R. Watson
  • Grace T. Baranek
  • Elizabeth R. Crais
  • Linn Wakeford
  • Lauren Turner-Brown
Original Paper


Parent responsiveness is critical for child development of cognition, social-communication, and self-regulation. Parents tend to respond more frequently when children at-risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrate stronger social-communication; however, it is unclear how responsiveness is associated with sensory characteristics of children at-risk for ASD. To address this issue, we examined the extent to which child social-communication and sensory reactivity patterns (i.e., hyper- and hypo-reactivity) predicted parent responsiveness to 1-year-olds at-risk for ASD in a community sample of 97 parent-infant pairs. A combination of child social-communication and sensory hypo-reactivity consistently predicted how parents played and talked with their 1-year-old at-risk for ASD. Parents tended to talk less and use more play actions when infants communicated less and demonstrated stronger hypo-reactivity.


Infants at-risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Sensory reactivity patterns Social-communication Parent responsiveness 



The research reported here was supported by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education (Grant # R324A100305) to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Additional funding for this manuscript was provided by the National Institutes of Health (Grant # T32 HD040127-11A1). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institutes or the U.S. Department of Education. This study was presented at the 2015 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention and the 2016 International Meeting for Autism Research. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of our project staff and of the families who participated in this study.

Author’s Contributions

JLK coordinated data acquisition for parent interaction variables and contributed to data interpretation and drafting the manuscript. JS participated in the design of the study, performed statistical analyses, and contributed to drafting the manuscript. LRW served as principal investigator for the study, participating in study conceptualization, design and coordination; data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation; and drafting the manuscript. GTB participated in study conceptualization and design; assessor training and data interpretation; and drafting the manuscript. ERC served as co-principal investigator, with contributions to study conceptualization, design and coordination; assessor training, data acquisition and interpretation; and drafting the manuscript. LW participated in data acquisition and interpretation and drafting the manuscript. LTB participated in study conceptualization and design; assessor training, coordination, and supervision; data acquisition and interpretation; and drafting the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carolina Institute for Developmental DisabilitiesThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Frank Porter Graham Child Development InstituteThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Program for Early Autism Research, Leadership, and ServiceThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Department of Allied Health SciencesThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry and UNC TEACCH Autism ProgramThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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