Joint Engagement and Early Language in Young Children With Fragile X Syndrome Purpose In this study, we examine joint engagement (JE) in young children with fragile X syndrome (FXS) and its relationship to language abilities and autism spectrum disorder symptomatology at 24 to 36 months (toddler period) and 59 to 68 months (child period). Method Participants were 28 children with ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2016
Joint Engagement and Early Language in Young Children With Fragile X Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura J. Hahn
    Life Span Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Nancy C. Brady
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Kandace K. Fleming
    Life Span Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Steven F. Warren
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • 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 Laura J. Hahn, who is now at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: ljhahn@illinois.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Linda Watson
    Associate Editor: Linda Watson×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2016
Joint Engagement and Early Language in Young Children With Fragile X Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1087-1098. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0005
History: Received January 5, 2015 , Revised May 26, 2015 , Accepted February 9, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1087-1098. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0005
History: Received January 5, 2015; Revised May 26, 2015; Accepted February 9, 2016

Purpose In this study, we examine joint engagement (JE) in young children with fragile X syndrome (FXS) and its relationship to language abilities and autism spectrum disorder symptomatology at 24 to 36 months (toddler period) and 59 to 68 months (child period).

Method Participants were 28 children with FXS (24 boys, four girls) and their mothers. Videotaped home observations were conducted during the toddler period and coded for JE. Language abilities were measured at both ages from a developmental assessment, a functional measure, and from a language sample. The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (Schopler, Reichler, & Renner, 1988) was completed at both ages.

Results Children with FXS spent more time in supported JE than in coordinated JE. Using a weighted JE variable, we found that children with FXS who had higher weighted JE scores also had more advanced expressive language skills at both the toddler and child periods. Weighted JE was negatively related to autism symptomatology in the toddler period.

Conclusion This study provides evidence that children with FXS who use more JE also have more advanced expressive language skills in early development. Therefore, existing early interventions that target JE behaviors may be effective for promoting language, social communication, and social interaction in this population.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Child Health and Human Development Grants T32 HD057844 (awarded to Kathryn J. Saunders), P30 HD02528 (awarded to John A. Colombo), and P30 HD003110 (awarded to Steven F. Warren). This manuscript was presented as a poster at the proceedings of the 47th Annual Gatlinburg Conference on Research and Theory in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Chicago, Illinois, and at the proceedings of the Second Annual KU Postdoc Research Day, Lawrence, Kansas. We would like to thank Carrissa Phillippe and Alisa Miller, who assisted in data coding.
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