Variability in Verbal and Nonverbal Communication in Infants at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Predictors and Outcomes

  • M. Franchini
  • E. Duku
  • V. Armstrong
  • J. Brian
  • S. E. Bryson
  • N. Garon
  • W. Roberts
  • C. Roncadin
  • L. Zwaigenbaum
  • I. M. Smith
Original Paper

Abstract

Early communication impairment is among the most-reported first concerns in parents of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Using a parent-report questionnaire, we derived trajectory groups for early language and gesture acquisition in siblings at high risk for ASD and in children at low risk, during their first 2 years of life. Developmental skills at 6 months were associated with trajectory group membership representing growth in receptive language and gestures. Behavioral symptoms also predicted gesture development. All communication measures were strongly related to clinical and developmental outcomes. Trajectory groups further indicated slowest language/gesture acquisition in infants with later ASD diagnoses, in particular when associated with language delay. Overall, our results confirm considerable variability in communication development in high-risk infants.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder Infant siblings Group-based trajectory model Vocabulary development Gesture development 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank all the families who kindly volunteered to participate as well as all the person involved in data collection. This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research [Grant Number MOP102655] and Autism Speaks Canada [Grant Number ASCanada-2010-01]. MF was further supported by an individual grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant Number P2GEP1_171686).

Author Contributions

SEB, LZ, and JB designed and planned the cohort study. MF and IMS conceived the current study. JB, SEB, LZ, IMS, WR, and CR participated in data collection. MF performed the analyses. ED provided support in the statistical analyses. ED, IMS, VA, and MF contributed to the interpretation of the results. MF took the lead in writing the manuscript, and IMS supervised the writing. All authors provided critical feedback and helped shape the research, analysis, and manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 19 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Franchini
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Duku
    • 3
  • V. Armstrong
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Brian
    • 4
    • 5
  • S. E. Bryson
    • 1
    • 2
  • N. Garon
    • 6
  • W. Roberts
    • 7
  • C. Roncadin
    • 8
  • L. Zwaigenbaum
    • 9
  • I. M. Smith
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Autism Research Centre, IWK Health CentreHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Offord Centre for Child StudiesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  4. 4.Bloorview Research InstituteUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyMount Allison UniversitySackvilleCanada
  7. 7.Integrated Services for Autism and Neurodevelopmental DisordersTorontoCanada
  8. 8.McMaster Children’s HospitalHamiltonCanada
  9. 9.Department of PediatricsUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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