Fathers' and Mothers' Verbal Responsiveness and the Language Skills of Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Purpose In this observational study, we examined the interactions of 16 young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents to investigate (a) differences in verbal responsiveness used by fathers and mothers in interactions with their children with ASD and (b) concurrent associations between the language skills of children ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2015
Fathers' and Mothers' Verbal Responsiveness and the Language Skills of Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Michelle Flippin
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Linda R. Watson
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Michelle Flippin: mflippin@uri.edu
  • Michelle Flippin is now at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
    Michelle Flippin is now at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI×
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Nancy Brady
    Associate Editor: Nancy Brady×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2015
Fathers' and Mothers' Verbal Responsiveness and the Language Skills of Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2015, Vol. 24, 400-410. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-13-0138
History: Received November 21, 2013 , Revised June 9, 2014 , Accepted March 25, 2015
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2015, Vol. 24, 400-410. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-13-0138
History: Received November 21, 2013; Revised June 9, 2014; Accepted March 25, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose In this observational study, we examined the interactions of 16 young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents to investigate (a) differences in verbal responsiveness used by fathers and mothers in interactions with their children with ASD and (b) concurrent associations between the language skills of children with ASD and the verbal responsiveness of both fathers and mothers.

Method Parent verbal responsiveness was coded from video recordings of naturalistic parent–child play sessions using interval-based coding. Child language skills were measured by the Preschool Language Scale–Fourth Edition (Zimmerman, Steiner, & Pond, 2002).

Results For both fathers and mothers, parent verbal responsiveness was positively associated with child language skills. Mothers' responsiveness was also significantly associated with child cognition. After controlling for child cognition, fathers' verbal responsiveness continued to be significantly related to child language skills.

Conclusions Although other studies have documented associations between mothers' responsiveness and child language, this is the 1st study to document a significant concurrent association between child language skills of children with ASD and the verbal responsiveness of fathers. Findings of this study warrant the inclusion of fathers in future research on language development and intervention to better understand the potential contributions fathers may make to language growth for children with ASD over time as well as to determine whether coaching fathers to use responsive verbal strategies can improve language outcomes for children with ASD.

Acknowledgments
This research was partially supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC006893 and by Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education Grant R324B070056. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, the Institute of Education Sciences, or the U.S. Department of Education. We wish to thank the families who participated in this research. We also thank the Useful Speech Study staff members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who assisted in data collection and coding.
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