Skip to main content

Expressive Dominant Versus Receptive Dominant Language Patterns in Young Children: Findings from the Study to Explore Early Development

Abstract

We examined language profiles of 2571 children, 30–68 months old, with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), other developmental disabilities (DD), and typical development from the general population (POP). Children were categorized as expressive dominant (ED), receptive dominant (RD), or nondominant (ND). Within each group, the ED profile was the least frequent. However, children in the ASD group were more likely to display an ED profile than those in the DD or POP groups, and these children were typically younger, had lower nonverbal cognitive skills, and displayed more severe social-affect symptoms of ASD compared to their peers with RD or ND profiles. These findings have research and clinical implications related to the focus of interventions targeting young children with ASD and other DDs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Baranek, G., Watson, L., Boyd, B. A., Poe, M. D., David, F. J., & McGuire, L. (2013). Hyporesponsiveness to social and nonsocial sensory stimuli in children with autism, children with developmental delays, and typically developing children. Developmental Psychopathology, 25(2), 307–320. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579412001071.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Barbaro, J., & Dissanayake, C. (2012). Developmental profiles of infants and toddlers with autism spectrum disorders identified prospectively in a community-based setting. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(9), 1939–1948. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1441-z.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Charman, T., Drew, A., Baird, C., & Baird, G. (2003). Measuring early language development in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder using the MacArthur Communicative Development (Infant form). Journal of Child Language, 30, 213–236.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Davidson, M., & Ellis Weismer, S. (2017). A discrepancy in comprehension and production in early language development in ASD: Is it clinically relevant? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(7), 2163–2175. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3135-z.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Dworzynski, K., Happé, F., Bolton, P., & Ronald, A. (2009). Relationship between symptom domains in autism spectrum disorders: A population based twin study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39, 1197–1210. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-009-0736-1.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Ellis Weismer, S., Lord, C., & Esler, A. (2010). Early language patterns of toddlers on the autism spectrum compared to toddlers with developmental delay. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(10), 1259–1273. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-0983-1.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Goodwin, A., Fein, D., & Naigles, L. (2015). The role of maternal input in the development of wh-question comprehension in autism and typical development. Journal of Child Language, 42(01), 32–63. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000913000524.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Gotham, K., Pickles, A., & Lord, C. (2009). Standardizing ADOS scores for a measure of severity in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(5), 693–705. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-008-0674-3.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Hudry, K., Leadbitter, K., Temple, K., Slonims, V., McConachie, H., Aldred, C., … the PACT Consortium. (2010). Preschoolers with autism show greater impairment in receptive compared with expressive language abilities. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 45(6), 681-690. https://doi.org/10.3109/13682820903461493

  10. Hus, V., Gotham, K., & Lord, C. (2014). Standardizing ADOS domain scores: Separating severity of social affect and restricted and repetitive behaviors. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(10), 2400–2412. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1719-1.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  11. Jarrold, C., Boucher, J., & Russell, J. (1997). Language profiles in children with autism: Theoretical and methodological implications. Autism, 1(1), 57–76. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361397011007.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 2, 217–250.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Kjelgaard, M. M., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2001). An investigation of language impairment in autism: Implications for genetic subgroups. Language and Cognitive Processes, 16(2–3), 287–308. https://doi.org/10.1080/01690960042000058.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. Kover, S., McDuffie, A., Hagerman, R., & Abbeduto, L. (2013). Receptive vocabulary in boys with autism spectrum disorder: Cross-sectional developmental trajectories. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(11), 2696–2709.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  15. Kwok, E. Y. L., Brown, H. M., Smyth, R. E., & Oram Cardy, J. (2015). Meta-analysis of receptive and expressive language skills in autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 9, 202–222. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2014.10.008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Lange, B. P., Euler, H. A., & Zaretsky, E. (2016). Sex differences in language competence of 3- to 6-year-old children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 37, 1417–1438.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (1999). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le Couteur, A. (1994). Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24(5), 659–685.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Loucas, T., Charman, T., Pickles, A., Simonoff, E., Chandler, S., Meldrum, D., et al. (2008). Autistic symptomatology and language ability in autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(11), 1184–1192. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01951.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Luyster, R. J., Kadlec, M. B., Carter, A., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2008). Language assessment and development in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 38(8), 1426–1438. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-007-0510-1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Luyster, R. J., Lopez, K., & Lord, C. (2007). Characterizing communicative development in children referred for autism spectrum disorders using the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Developmental Inventory (CDI). Journal of Child Language, 34, 623–654.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Maljaars, J., Noens, I., Scholte, E., & van Berckelaer-Onnes, I. (2012). Language in low-functioning children with autistic disorder: Differences between receptive and expressive skills and concurrent predictors of language. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(10), 2181–2191. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1476-1.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Mandy, W. P. L., & Skuse, D. H. (2008). Research review: What is the association between the social-communication element of autism and repetitive interests, behaviours and activities? The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49, 795–808. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01911.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. McDaniel, J., Yoder, P., Woynaroski, T., & Watson, L. R. (2018). Predicting receptive–expressive vocabulary discrepancies in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Disorders, 61, 1426–1439. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Mullen, E. M. (1995). Mullen Scales of Early Learning (AGS ed.). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Paul, R., Chawarska, K., Cicchetti, D., & Volkmar, F. (2008). Language outcomes of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders: A two year follow-up. Autism Research, 1, 97–107. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.12.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  27. Rice, M. L., & Hoffman, L. (2015). Predicting vocabulary growth in children with and without specific language impairment: A longitudinal study from 2;6 to 21 years of age. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 58, 345–359.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  28. Rowe, M. L., Denmark, N., Harden, F. J., & Stapleton, L. M. (2016). The role of parent education and parenting knowledge in children’s language and literacy skills among White, Black and Latino families. Infant and Child Development, 25, 198–220.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Rutter, M., Bailey, A., & Lord, C. (2003). Social communication questionnaire [measurement instrument]. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Schendel, D., DiGuiseppi, C., Croen, L., Fallin, M. D., Reed, P. L., Schieve, L., … Yeargin-Allsopp, M. (2012). The study to explore early development (SEED): A multisite epidemiologic study of autism by the centers for autism and developmental disabilities research and epidemiology (CADDRE) network. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(10), 2121–2140. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1461-8

  31. Schietecatte, I., Roeyers, H., & Warreyn, P. (2012). Exploring the nature of joint attention impairments in children with autism spectrum disorder: Associated social and cognitive skills. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 1–2. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1209-x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Seol, K. I., Song, S. H., Kim, K. L., Oh, S. T., Kim, Y. T., Im, W. Y., … Cheon, K. A. (2014). A comparison of receptive-expressive language profiles between toddlers with autism spectrum disorder and developmental language delay. Yonsei Medical Journal, 55(6), 1721–1728. http://doi.org/10.3349/ymj.2014.55.6.1721

  33. Sparrow, S. S., Balla, D. A., Cicchetti, D. V., & Doll, E. A. (2005). Vineland-II: Vineland adaptive behavior scales. Circle Pines, MN: AGS Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Thurm, A., Manwaring, S., Swineford, L., & Farmer, C. (2015). Longitudinal study of symptom severity and language in minimally verbal children with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56(1), 97–104. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12285.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Volden, J., Smith, I. M., Szatmari, P., Bryson, S., Fombonne, E., Mirenda, P., … Thompson, A. (2011). Using the preschool language scale, fourth edition to characterize language in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20(3), 200–208. https://doi.org/10.1044/1058-0360(2011/10-0035)

  36. Warlaumont, A. S., Richards, J. A., Gilkerson, J., & Oller, D. K. (2014). A social feedback loop for speech development and its reduction in autism. Psychological Science, 25(7), 1314–1324. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797614531023.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  37. Wiggins, L. D., Reynolds, A., Rice, C., Moody, E. J., Bernal, P., Blaskey, L., … Levy, S. E. (2015). Using standardized diagnostic instruments to classify children with autism in the Study to Explore Early Development. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(5), 1271–1280. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2287-3

  38. Woynaroski, T., Yoder, P., & Watson, L. R. (2016). Atypical cross-modal profiles and longitudinal associations between vocabulary scores in initially minimally verbal children with ASD. Autism Research, 9(2), 301–310. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1516.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Yoder, P., Watson, L. R., & Lambert, W. (2015). Value-added predictors of expressive and receptive language growth in initially nonverbal preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 1254–1270.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by six cooperative agreements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Cooperative Agreements Numbers U10DD000180, U10DD000181, U10DD000182, U10DD000183, U10DD000184, and U10DD000498). The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

DBR, ALT, LW, EC, AHH conceived and designed the analysis; DBR, CB collected the data; ALT, JD contributed data or analysis tools; ALT performed the analysis; DBR, ALT, LW, EC, CB, JF, JD wrote the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to D. B. Reinhartsen.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 33 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Reinhartsen, D.B., Tapia, A.L., Watson, L. et al. Expressive Dominant Versus Receptive Dominant Language Patterns in Young Children: Findings from the Study to Explore Early Development. J Autism Dev Disord 49, 2447–2460 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-03999-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Expressive language
  • Receptive language
  • Mullen Scales of Early Learning