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Imitation (rather than core language) predicts pragmatic development in young children with ASD: a preliminary longitudinal study using CDI parental reports

Miniscalco, Carmela; Rudling, Maja; Råstam, Maria LU ; Gillberg, Christopher and Åsberg Johnels, Jakob (2014) In International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders 49(3). p.369-375
Abstract
Background: Research in the last decades has clearly pointed to the important role of language and communicative level when trying to understand developmental trajectories in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Aims: The purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate whether (1) core language skills, measured as expressive vocabulary and grammar, and/or (2) pre-linguistic social-communicative skills, including gestures and imitation abilities, drive pragmatic language development in young children with ASD.

Methods & Procedures: We examined correlates and longitudinal predictors of pragmatic growth in a sample of 34 children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), whose parents were given parts of... (More)
Background: Research in the last decades has clearly pointed to the important role of language and communicative level when trying to understand developmental trajectories in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Aims: The purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate whether (1) core language skills, measured as expressive vocabulary and grammar, and/or (2) pre-linguistic social-communicative skills, including gestures and imitation abilities, drive pragmatic language development in young children with ASD.

Methods & Procedures: We examined correlates and longitudinal predictors of pragmatic growth in a sample of 34 children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), whose parents were given parts of twoMacArthur Communicative Developmental Inventories (CDI: Words & Gestures and CDI: Words & Sentences) for completion at two time points (at time 1 the mean child age was 41 months, and at time 2 it was 54 months). A novel feature in this study is that the relevant parts from both CDI forms were included at both time points, allowing us to examine whether

pre-linguistic social-communication skills (e.g. imitation and gesturing) and/or core language skills (i.e. grammar

and vocabulary) predict pragmatic language growth.

Outcomes & Results: The results show that basically all pre-linguistic, linguistic and pragmatic skills were associated concurrently. When controlling for possible confounders and for the autoregressive effect, imitation skills predicted pragmatic growth over time, whereas core language did not. This could only have been shown by the use of both

CDI forms.

Conclusions & Implications: This preliminary study may be of both conceptual and methodological importance for research in the field of language and communication development in ASD. Imitation may play a pivotal role in the development of subsequent conversational pragmatic abilities in young children with ASD. Future research should be directed at unravelling the mechanisms underlying this association. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
autism, CDI, development, imitation, pre-linguistic skills, pragmatic
in
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders
volume
49
issue
3
pages
369 - 375
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • wos:000335078200009
  • scopus:84899641722
ISSN
1368-2822
DOI
10.1111/1460-6984.12085
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d82f9be2-0343-48c1-958e-2ced1423dfb9 (old id 4389233)
date added to LUP
2014-06-19 14:10:16
date last changed
2017-07-30 03:06:33
@article{d82f9be2-0343-48c1-958e-2ced1423dfb9,
  abstract     = {Background: Research in the last decades has clearly pointed to the important role of language and communicative level when trying to understand developmental trajectories in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).<br/><br>
Aims: The purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate whether (1) core language skills, measured as expressive vocabulary and grammar, and/or (2) pre-linguistic social-communicative skills, including gestures and imitation abilities, drive pragmatic language development in young children with ASD.<br/><br>
Methods &amp; Procedures: We examined correlates and longitudinal predictors of pragmatic growth in a sample of 34 children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), whose parents were given parts of twoMacArthur Communicative Developmental Inventories (CDI: Words &amp; Gestures and CDI: Words &amp; Sentences) for completion at two time points (at time 1 the mean child age was 41 months, and at time 2 it was 54 months). A novel feature in this study is that the relevant parts from both CDI forms were included at both time points, allowing us to examine whether<br/><br>
pre-linguistic social-communication skills (e.g. imitation and gesturing) and/or core language skills (i.e. grammar<br/><br>
and vocabulary) predict pragmatic language growth.<br/><br>
Outcomes &amp; Results: The results show that basically all pre-linguistic, linguistic and pragmatic skills were associated concurrently. When controlling for possible confounders and for the autoregressive effect, imitation skills predicted pragmatic growth over time, whereas core language did not. This could only have been shown by the use of both<br/><br>
CDI forms.<br/><br>
Conclusions &amp; Implications: This preliminary study may be of both conceptual and methodological importance for research in the field of language and communication development in ASD. Imitation may play a pivotal role in the development of subsequent conversational pragmatic abilities in young children with ASD. Future research should be directed at unravelling the mechanisms underlying this association.},
  author       = {Miniscalco, Carmela and Rudling, Maja and Råstam, Maria and Gillberg, Christopher and Åsberg Johnels, Jakob},
  issn         = {1368-2822},
  keyword      = {autism,CDI,development,imitation,pre-linguistic skills,pragmatic},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {369--375},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders},
  title        = {Imitation (rather than core language) predicts pragmatic development in young children with ASD: a preliminary longitudinal study using CDI parental reports},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12085},
  volume       = {49},
  year         = {2014},
}