Effect of Speaker Gaze on Word Learning in Fragile X Syndrome: A Comparison With Nonsyndromic Autism Spectrum Disorder Purpose This study examined use of a speaker's direction of gaze during word learning by boys with fragile X syndrome (FXS), boys with nonsyndromic autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and typically developing (TD) boys. Method A fast-mapping task with follow-in and discrepant labeling conditions was administered. We expected that ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2015
Effect of Speaker Gaze on Word Learning in Fragile X Syndrome: A Comparison With Nonsyndromic Autism Spectrum Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David P. Benjamin
    MIND Institute, University of California, Davis
    UC Davis School of Medicine
  • Andrea S. McDuffie
    MIND Institute, University of California, Davis
    UC Davis School of Medicine
  • Angela J. Thurman
    MIND Institute, University of California, Davis
    UC Davis School of Medicine
  • Sara T. Kover
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Ann M. Mastergeorge
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Randi J. Hagerman
    MIND Institute, University of California, Davis
    UC Davis School of Medicine
  • Leonard Abbeduto
    MIND Institute, University of California, Davis
    UC Davis School of Medicine
  • 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 David P. Benjamin: dpbenjamin@ucdavis.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Andrew Whitehouse
    Associate Editor: Andrew Whitehouse×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Autism Spectrum / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2015
Effect of Speaker Gaze on Word Learning in Fragile X Syndrome: A Comparison With Nonsyndromic Autism Spectrum Disorder
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 383-395. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0136
History: Received May 20, 2014 , Revised October 28, 2014 , Accepted December 3, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 383-395. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0136
History: Received May 20, 2014; Revised October 28, 2014; Accepted December 3, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose This study examined use of a speaker's direction of gaze during word learning by boys with fragile X syndrome (FXS), boys with nonsyndromic autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and typically developing (TD) boys.

Method A fast-mapping task with follow-in and discrepant labeling conditions was administered. We expected that the use of speaker gaze would lead to participants selecting as the referent of the novel label the object to which they attended in follow-in trials and the object to which the examiner attended in the discrepant labeling trials. Participants were school-aged boys with FXS (n = 18) or ASD (n = 18) matched on age, intelligence quotient, and nonverbal cognition and younger TD boys (n = 18) matched on nonverbal cognition.

Results All groups performed above chance in both conditions, although the TD boys performed closest to the expected pattern. Boys with FXS performed better during follow-in than in discrepant label trials, whereas TD boys and boys with ASD did equally well in both trial types. The type of trial administered first influenced subsequent responding. Error patterns also distinguished the groups.

Conclusion The ability to utilize a speaker's gaze during word learning is not as well developed in boys with FXS or nonsyndromic ASD as in TD boys of the same developmental level.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grants R01 HD054764 and U54 HD079125, awarded to Leonard Abbeduto. We thank the families for their participation in this study. We also thank Susan Harris, Beth Goodlin-Jones, Claire Hauser, Sara Armson, Eileen Haebig, Ashley Oakes, and Cecilia Compton for assisting with data collection and Susen Schroeder for coordinating study visits. Leonard Abbeduto has received financial support from F. Hoffman-LaRoche Ltd., Roche TCRC Inc., and Neuren Pharmaceuticals Ltd. to develop and implement outcome measures for FXS clinical trials. Randi J. Hagerman has received funding from Novartis, Roche Pharmaceuticals, and Alcobra to carry out treatment studies in FXS, ASD, and Down syndrome. She also has consulted with Roche/Genentech, Novartis, and Alcobra regarding treatment studies in FXS. No other authors have financial disclosures to make.
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