Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 122–132 | Cite as

Early Social and Emotional Communication in the Infant Siblings of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Examination of the Broad Phenotype

  • Tricia D. Cassel
  • Daniel S. Messinger
  • Lisa V. Ibanez
  • John D. Haltigan
  • Susan I. Acosta
  • Albert C. Buchman
Original Paper


Infants with older siblings with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD-sibs) are at risk for socioemotional difficulties. ASD-sibs were compared to infants with typically developing older siblings (TD-sibs) using the face-to-face/still-face (FFSF) at 6 months and the Early Social Communication Scale (ESCS) at 8, 10, 12, 15, and/or 18 months. ASD-sibs smiled for a lower proportion of the FFSF than TD-sibs and lacked emotional continuity between episodes. With respect to TD-sibs, ASD-sibs engaged in lower rates of initiating joint attention at 15 months, lower rates of higher-level behavioral requests at 12 months, and responded to fewer joint attention bids at 18 months. The results suggest subtle, inconsistent, but multi-faceted deficits in emotional expression and referential communication in infants at-risk for ASDs.


Autism spectrum disorders Siblings At-risk Emotion Facial expressions Joint attention 



We wish to thank the families for participating in this research. Funding for this study was provided by a grant from NICHD (047417).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tricia D. Cassel
    • 1
  • Daniel S. Messinger
    • 1
  • Lisa V. Ibanez
    • 1
  • John D. Haltigan
    • 1
  • Susan I. Acosta
    • 1
  • Albert C. Buchman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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