Observed and Parent-Report Measures of Social Communication in Toddlers With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder Across Race/Ethnicity Purpose This study investigated whether measures of early social communication vary among young children of diverse racial/ethnic status with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Method Participants were 364 toddlers between ages 18 and 36 months with a diagnosis of ASD confirmed (n = 195) or ruled out ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 17, 2017
Observed and Parent-Report Measures of Social Communication in Toddlers With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder Across Race/Ethnicity
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sheri T. Stronach
    University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, Minneapolis
  • Amy M. Wetherby
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Disclosure: Amy M. Wetherby has a financial interest in the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales.
    Disclosure: Amy M. Wetherby has a financial interest in the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales. ×
  • Correspondence to Sheri T. Stronach: sstronac@umn.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Laura DeThorne
    Associate Editor: Laura DeThorne×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Autism Spectrum / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 17, 2017
Observed and Parent-Report Measures of Social Communication in Toddlers With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder Across Race/Ethnicity
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2017, Vol. 26, 355-368. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0089
History: Received June 29, 2015 , Revised November 23, 2015 , Accepted October 19, 2016
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2017, Vol. 26, 355-368. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0089
History: Received June 29, 2015; Revised November 23, 2015; Accepted October 19, 2016

Purpose This study investigated whether measures of early social communication vary among young children of diverse racial/ethnic status with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Method Participants were 364 toddlers between ages 18 and 36 months with a diagnosis of ASD confirmed (n = 195) or ruled out (n = 169), from 3 racial/ethnic categories: non-Hispanic White (n = 226), non-Hispanic Black (n = 74), and Hispanic (n = 64). Group differences in social communication were examined using an observational measure—the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Behavior Sample (CSBS-BS; Wetherby & Prizant, 2002)—and a parent-report measure, the Early Screening for Autism and Communication Disorders (Wetherby, Woods, & Lord, 2007).

Results Controlling for maternal education, children with ASD scored significantly lower on the CSBS-BS than children without, indicating poorer social communication skills, and higher on the Early Screening for Autism and Communication Disorders, indicating more ASD features. Racial/ethnic groups did not differ on 6 CSBS-BS clusters, but Non-Hispanic White toddlers scored significantly higher than both other groups on the Understanding cluster. There were no significant Diagnosis × Race/Ethnicity interactions.

Conclusion These findings indicate good agreement between observed and parent-report measures in this sample. Results suggest that the CSBS-BS and Early Screening for Autism and Communication Disorders could be viable tools in the detection process for toddlers with ASD in these racial/ethnic groups.

Acknowledgments
This project was supported in part by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant R01HD065272, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R21DC010926, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01DC007462, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant U01DD000304, awarded to Amy M. Wetherby. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, the National Institutes of Health, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We thank all of the families who have participated in the FIRST WORDS Project, and the staff for their assistance with data collection.
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