Vocalization Development in Toddlers With Autism Spectrum Disorder Purpose In this study, the authors aimed to examine the vocalizations of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the second year of life and their relationship to other areas of development. Method Vocalizations were examined in 125 children between ages 18 and 24 months: 50 later diagnosed ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2013
Vocalization Development in Toddlers With Autism Spectrum Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Allison M. Plumb
    Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
  • Amy M. Wetherby
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Correspondence to Allison M. Plumb: amp0016@auburn.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2013
Vocalization Development in Toddlers With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 721-734. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0104)
History: Received April 29, 2011 , Revised October 4, 2011 , Accepted August 28, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 721-734. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0104)
History: Received April 29, 2011; Revised October 4, 2011; Accepted August 28, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 12

Purpose In this study, the authors aimed to examine the vocalizations of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the second year of life and their relationship to other areas of development.

Method Vocalizations were examined in 125 children between ages 18 and 24 months: 50 later diagnosed with ASD, 25 with developmental delays (DD) in which ASD was ruled out, and 50 with typical development (TD). Precise measures of vocalizations were obtained through coding of video-recorded behavior samples from the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile (Wetherby & Prizant, 2002b).

Results The ASD group used a significantly lower proportion of vocalizations with speech sounds and a significantly higher proportion of atypical vocalizations than children with TD. The ASD group used a significantly higher proportion of distress vocalizations than the TD and DD groups. For the ASD group, the frequency of vocalizations with speech sounds correlated significantly with developmental levels both concurrently and predictively. In the ASD group, communicative vocalizations late in the second year were found to uniquely predict expressive language outcome at age 3 years above noncommunicative vocalizations.

Conclusions Further examination of distress vocalizations as a potential early indicator of ASD is recommended. In addition, the importance of early communicative vocalizations for later language development is highlighted.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Grant R01 DC007462; U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services Grant H324C030112; and Cooperative Agreement 1U10DD000064 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIDCD, USDOE, or CDC. We thank the families and children who participated in this research project. We also thank the FIRST WORDS Project clinicians and coders who contributed to the collection and analysis of the data reported in this article.
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