Early Gesture and Vocabulary Development in Infant Siblings of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
This study examined longitudinal growth in gestures and words in infants at heightened (HR) versus low risk (LR) for ASD. The MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory was administered monthly from 8 to 14 months and at 18 and 24 months to caregivers of 14 HR infants diagnosed with ASD (HR-ASD), 27 HR infants with language delay (HR-LD), 51 HR infants with no diagnosis (HR-ND), and 28 LR infants. Few differences were obtained between LR and HR-ND infants, but HR-LD and HR-ASD groups differed in initial skill levels and growth patterns. While HR-LD infants grew at rates comparable to LR and HR-ND infants, growth was attenuated in the HR-ASD group, with trajectories progressively diverging from all other groups.
KeywordsInfant siblings Autism spectrum disorder Gesture Vocabulary development
We thank members of the Infant Communication Lab at the University of Pittsburgh for help with data collection, Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal for statistical advice, Nancy Minshew and Diane Williams for valuable contributions at various stages of the project, and Robert H. Wozniak for extensive comments on the manuscript. Special thanks to the families and infants who participated in the research. It could not have been completed without their enthusiastic and dedicated involvement.
This study was funded by grants from Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Health (R01 HD41607 and R01 HD54979) to JMI, with additional support from HD35469 and HD055748 to N.J. Minshew.
All authors contributed to the design of the study and participated in data collection. JMI, MVP and EAK conducted the initial literature review; JBN, NBL, MVP, and EAK performed the statistical analyses. JMI drafted the manuscript with contributions from JBN, NLB, and KLW. All authors read, edited, and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained for all individual participants in the study.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th edn., Text Revision). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.Google Scholar
- Bates, E., Bretherton, I., & Snyder, L. (1988). From first words to grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Fenson, L., Dale, P., Reznick, J. S., Thal, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J., Pethick, S. J., & Reilly, J. (1993). The MacArthur communicative development inventories: User’s guide and technical manual. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Group.Google Scholar
- LeBarton, E. S., & Iverson, J. M. (2017). Gesture’s role in learning interactions: A focus on clinical populations. In R. B. Church, M. W. Alibali & S. D. Kelly (Eds.), Why Gesture? How the hands function in speaking, thinking and communicating (pp. 331–351). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lord, C., Risi, S., Lambrecht, L., Cook, E. H., Leventhal, B. L., DiLavore, P. C., et al. (2000). The autism diagnostic observation schedule-generic: A standard measure of social and communication deficits associated with the spectrum of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30(3), 205–223.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Mullen, E. M. (1995). Mullen: Scales of early learning (AGS edn.). Circle Pines, MN: American Guideline Service, Inc.Google Scholar
- Raudenbush, S.W., Bryk, A., Cheong, Y.F., & Congdon, R.T. (2004). HLM 6: Hierarchical linear and nonlinear modeling. Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
- Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (Vol. 1). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Sacrey, L. A. R., Zwaigenbaum, L., Bryson, S., Brian, J., Smith, I. M., Roberts, W., et al. (2015). Can parents’ concerns predict autism spectrum disorder? A prospective study of high-risk siblings from 6 to 36 months of age. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54, 470–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Szatmari, P., Chawarska, K., Dawson, G., Georgiades, S., Landa, R., Lord, C., et al. (2016). Prospective longitudinal studies of infant siblings of children with autism: Lessons learned and future directions. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 55, 179–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Thal, D. J., & Katich, J. (1996). Predicaments in early identification of specific language impairment: Does the early bird always catch the worm? In K. N. Cole, P. S. Dale & D. J. Thal (Eds.), Assessment of communication and language. (Vol. 6, pp. 1–28). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.Google Scholar