Parent Telegraphic Speech Use and Spoken Language in Preschoolers With ASD Purpose There is considerable controversy regarding whether to use telegraphic or grammatical input when speaking to young children with language delays, including children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study examined telegraphic speech use in parents of preschoolers with ASD and associations with children's spoken language 1 year later. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2015
Parent Telegraphic Speech Use and Spoken Language in Preschoolers With ASD
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Courtney E. Venker
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Daniel M. Bolt
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Allison Meyer
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Heidi Sindberg
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Susan Ellis Weismer
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Helen Tager-Flusberg
    Boston University 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 Courtney E. Venker: cgerickson@wisc.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Linda Watson
    Associate Editor: Linda Watson×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2015
Parent Telegraphic Speech Use and Spoken Language in Preschoolers With ASD
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2015, Vol. 58, 1733-1746. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0291
History: Received October 17, 2014 , Revised April 15, 2015 , Accepted August 9, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2015, Vol. 58, 1733-1746. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0291
History: Received October 17, 2014; Revised April 15, 2015; Accepted August 9, 2015

Purpose There is considerable controversy regarding whether to use telegraphic or grammatical input when speaking to young children with language delays, including children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study examined telegraphic speech use in parents of preschoolers with ASD and associations with children's spoken language 1 year later.

Method Parent–child dyads (n = 55) participated when children were, on average, 3 (Time 1) and 4 years old (Time 2). The rate at which parents omitted obligatory determiners was derived from transcripts of parent–child play sessions; measures of children's spoken language were obtained from these same transcripts.

Results Telegraphic speech use varied substantially across parents. Higher rates of parent determiner omissions at Time 1 were significantly associated with lower lexical diversity in children's spoken language at Time 2, even when controlling for children's baseline lexical diversity and nonverbal IQ. Findings from path analyses supported the directionality of effects assumed in our regression analyses, although these results should be interpreted with caution due to the limited sample size.

Conclusions Telegraphic input may have a negative impact on language development in young children with ASD. Future experimental research is needed to directly investigate how telegraphic input affects children's language learning and processing.

Acknowledgments
This research article was supported by the following sources: National Institutes of Health Grant R01DC007223 and T32DC005359 to Susan Ellis Weismer, Grant P30HD003352 to Marsha Mailick (Waisman Center Director), and Grant U54 MH 66398, as well as grant from Autism Speaks to Helen Tager-Flusberg. Many thanks go to the research assistants who transcribed the language samples. Most importantly, we are grateful for the involvement of the parents and children who took part in this study.
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