Gesture Development, Caregiver Responsiveness, and Language and Diagnostic Outcomes in Infants at High and Low Risk for Autism
We investigated gesture production in infants at high and low risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and caregiver responsiveness between 12 and 24 months of age and assessed the extent to which early gesture predicts later language and ASD outcomes. Participants included 55 high-risk infants, 21 of whom later met criteria for ASD, 34 low-risk infants, and their caregivers. Results indicated that (a) infants with ASD outcomes used fewer gestures and a lower proportion of developmentally advanced gesture–speech combinations; (b) caregivers of all the infants provided similar rates of contingent responses to their infants’ gestures; and (c) gesture production at 12 months predicted subsequent receptive language and ASD outcomes within the high-risk group.
KeywordsAutism Gesture Responsiveness Receptive language Infant siblings
We would like to thank all children and families who participated in this study as well as the former and current Infant Sibling Project team members for their help in the data collection. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript, Kathryn A. Leech for training on transcription, and Phoebe Stoye for assistance with transcription. This work was presented at the 2018 International Society for Autism Research, Rotterdam, Netherlands. This manuscript was prepared from part of a doctoral dissertation completed by Boin Choi.
BC transcribed and coded videotaped sessions, performed data analysis, and drafted the manuscript. PS contributed to transcription and coding of videotaped sessions. MR supervised the data interpretation and revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. CAN and HTF were the principal investigators of the larger Infant Sibling Project and critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
This study was funded by the grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01-DC010290 to HTF and CAN; R21-DC08637 to HTF), Autism Speaks (1323 to HTF), and Simons Foundation (137186 to CAN). The funding bodies did not have any role in the design, collection, analyses, and interpretation of data or in writing the manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.
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