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Language Differences at 12 Months in Infants Who Develop Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Abstract

Little is known about early language development in infants who later develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We analyzed prospective data from 346 infants, some of whom were at high risk for developing ASD, to determine if language differences could be detected at 12 months of age in the infants who later were diagnosed with ASD. Analyses revealed lower receptive and expressive language scores in infants who later were diagnosed with ASD. Controlling for overall ability to understand and produce single words, a Rasch analysis indicated that infants who later developed ASD had a higher degree of statistically unexpected word understanding and production. At 12 months of age, quantitative and qualitative language patterns distinguished infants who later developed ASD from those who did not.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the children and their families for their participation and the talented staff at the four study sites. Many thanks to the Scholarly Oversight Committee of the Division of Developmental Medicine for their guidance. We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers of the initial version of this manuscript. This research was supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) Grant 1R01DC010290-02 and a Simon’s foundation Grant 137186 to C.A. Nelson and H. Tager-Flusberg, NIH Grant R01 HD052804-01A2 to K. Dobkins and R01 HD054979 and R01 HD41607 to J. Iverson, MCHB training grant T77 MC 00011-10 to L. Rappaport, as well as a grant from the Alberta Centre for Child, Family, and Community Research to S. Curtin. A poster presentation of a pilot of this study from one site was given IMFAR 2014 and PAS 2014. A poster with a portion of the data in this manuscript was presented at IMFAR 2015 and PAS 2015.

Author Contributions

DL, NH, MP, PD, CAN and HTF conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, analysis and interpretation of data, drafted the manuscript, and revised it for important intellectual content. DT participated in study coordination as well as drafted and critically revised the manuscript. GS made substantial contributions to study conception and design, drafted and critically revised the manuscript, and performed the statistical analysis. SC, LH, JI, LC, KD, NA made substantial contributions to study design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, and critically reviewed the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to DeWayne C. Lazenby.

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Lazenby, D.C., Sideridis, G.D., Huntington, N. et al. Language Differences at 12 Months in Infants Who Develop Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 46, 899–909 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2632-1

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