The Relationship Between Standardized Measures of Language and Measures of Spontaneous Speech in Children With Autism This study investigated the relationship between scores on standardized tests (Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals [CELF], Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition [PPVT-III], and Expressive Vocabulary Test) and measures of spontaneous speech (mean length of utterance [MLU], Index of Productive Syntax, and number of different word roots [NDWR]) derived from natural ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2003
The Relationship Between Standardized Measures of Language and Measures of Spontaneous Speech in Children With Autism
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Karen Condouris
    Boston University School of Medicine
  • Echo Meyer
    Division TEACH, University of North Carolina
  • Helen Tager-Flusberg, PhD
    Boston University School of Medicine
  • Contact author: Helen Tager-Flusberg, PhD, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, L-814, Boston, MA 02118-2526.
    Contact author: Helen Tager-Flusberg, PhD, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, L-814, Boston, MA 02118-2526.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: htagerf@bu.edu
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2003
The Relationship Between Standardized Measures of Language and Measures of Spontaneous Speech in Children With Autism
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2003, Vol. 12, 349-358. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2003/080)
History: Received January 1, 2002 , Accepted February 7, 2003
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2003, Vol. 12, 349-358. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2003/080)
History: Received January 1, 2002; Accepted February 7, 2003

This study investigated the relationship between scores on standardized tests (Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals [CELF], Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition [PPVT-III], and Expressive Vocabulary Test) and measures of spontaneous speech (mean length of utterance [MLU], Index of Productive Syntax, and number of different word roots [NDWR]) derived from natural language samples obtained from 44 children with autism between the ages of 4 and 14 years old. The children with autism were impaired across both groups of measures. The two groups of measures were significantly correlated, and specific relationships were found between lexical-semantic measures (NDWR, vocabulary tests, and the CELF lexical-semantic subtests) and grammatical measures (MLU, and CELF grammar subtests), suggesting that both standardized and spontaneous speech measures tap the same underlying linguistic abilities in children with autism. These findings have important implications for clinicians and researchers who depend on these types of language measures for diagnostic purposes, assessment, and investigations of language impairments in autism.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (PO1 DC 03610; RO1 NS 38668). We are extremely grateful to Susan Bacalman, Laura Becker, Courtney Hale, Robert Joseph, and Jenny Roberts for their help in collecting some of the data reported in this article. We offer special thanks to the children and families who participated in this study.
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