Linking Infant-Directed Speech and Face Preferences to Language Outcomes in Infants at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder Purpose In this study, the authors aimed to examine whether biases for infant-directed (ID) speech and faces differ between infant siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (SIBS-A) and infant siblings of typically developing children (SIBS-TD), and whether speech and face biases predict language outcomes and risk group membership. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2013
Linking Infant-Directed Speech and Face Preferences to Language Outcomes in Infants at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Danielle Droucker
    School and Applied Child Psychology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Suzanne Curtin
    University of Calgary
  • Athena Vouloumanos
    New York University, New York
  • Correspondence to Suzanne Curtin: scurtin@ucalgary.ca
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2013
Linking Infant-Directed Speech and Face Preferences to Language Outcomes in Infants at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 567-576. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0266)
History: Received September 23, 2011 , Revised April 4, 2012 , Accepted July 16, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 567-576. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0266)
History: Received September 23, 2011; Revised April 4, 2012; Accepted July 16, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

Purpose In this study, the authors aimed to examine whether biases for infant-directed (ID) speech and faces differ between infant siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (SIBS-A) and infant siblings of typically developing children (SIBS-TD), and whether speech and face biases predict language outcomes and risk group membership.

Method Thirty-six infants were tested at ages 6, 8, 12, and 18 months. Infants heard 2 ID and 2 adult-directed (AD) speech passages paired with either a checkerboard or a face. The authors assessed expressive language at 12 and 18 months and general functioning at 12 months using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (Mullen, 1995).

Results Both infant groups preferred ID to AD speech and preferred faces to checkerboards. SIBS-TD demonstrated higher expressive language at 18 months than did SIBS-A, a finding that correlated with preferences for ID speech at 12 months. Although both groups looked longer to face stimuli than to the checkerboard, the magnitude of the preference was smaller in SIBS-A and predicted expressive vocabulary at 18 months in this group. Infants' preference for faces contributed to risk-group membership in a logistic regression analysis.

Conclusion Infants at heightened risk of ASD differ from typically developing infants in their preferences for ID speech and faces, which may underlie deficits in later language development and social communication.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by funds from the Alberta Centre for Child, Family, and Community Research (awarded to the second author) and New York University (awarded to the third author). We also thank the members of the University of Calgary Speech Development Lab and the members of the New York University Infant Cognition and Communication Lab for their help with this research as well as all of the families who participated in this study.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access