Using Spoken Language Benchmarks to Characterize the Expressive Language Skills of Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Purpose Spoken language benchmarks proposed by Tager-Flusberg et al. (2009)  were used to characterize communication profiles of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders and to investigate if there were differences in variables hypothesized to influence language development at different benchmark levels. Method The communication abilities of a large sample ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 2015
Using Spoken Language Benchmarks to Characterize the Expressive Language Skills of Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Allison Bean Ellawadi
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Susan Ellis Weismer
    The University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • 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 Allison Bean Ellawadi: ellawadi.1@osu.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Cynthia Cress
    Associate Editor: Cynthia Cress×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 2015
Using Spoken Language Benchmarks to Characterize the Expressive Language Skills of Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2015, Vol. 24, 696-707. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0190
History: Received October 31, 2014 , Revised April 24, 2015 , Accepted July 22, 2015
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2015, Vol. 24, 696-707. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0190
History: Received October 31, 2014; Revised April 24, 2015; Accepted July 22, 2015

Purpose Spoken language benchmarks proposed by Tager-Flusberg et al. (2009)  were used to characterize communication profiles of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders and to investigate if there were differences in variables hypothesized to influence language development at different benchmark levels.

Method The communication abilities of a large sample of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (N = 105) were characterized in terms of spoken language benchmarks. The toddlers were grouped according to these benchmarks to investigate whether there were differences in selected variables across benchmark groups at a mean age of 2.5 years.

Results The majority of children in the sample presented with uneven communication profiles with relative strengths in phonology and significant weaknesses in pragmatics. When children were grouped according to one expressive language domain, across-group differences were observed in response to joint attention and gestures but not cognition or restricted and repetitive behaviors.

Conclusion The spoken language benchmarks are useful for characterizing early communication profiles and investigating features that influence expressive language growth.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC007223 and Training Grant, T32 DC05359 (awarded to S. Ellis Weismer, PI) as well as by a core grant to the Waisman Center, NICHD Grant P30 HD03352 (awarded to M. Mailick, PI). We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the children and parents who participated in this research.
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