Infants at Elevated Likelihood of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Language Development Patterns and Caregiver Coaching Strategies [thesis]

Jonet Artis
This dissertation is composed of two manuscripts that study the early development of infants at an elevated likelihood of an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis (EL-ASD). In the first manuscript, the language profiles (i.e., receptive dominant, expressive dominant, balanced) and the predictors of the language profiles are examined in infants at EL-ASD. Results indicated that there were no differences in the frequencies of the profiles demonstrated by children at EL-ASD when compared to children
more » ... mpared to children at lower likelihood of an ASD diagnosis. Neither response to joint attention nor parent responsiveness were predictors of the difference between receptive and expressive language scores within this sample. Similarly, ASD-related social communication features and restrictive and repetitive behavior features were also not significantly correlated with the language difference scores. However, the language scores themselves were significantly associated with these variables. The results suggest that while the language difference scores may not relate to response to joint attention, parent responsiveness, or ASD features (social communication or restricted and repetitive behaviors) in infants at EL-ASD, there is a relationship between these skills and features and the language scores of infants within this sample. The second manuscript is focused on coaching behaviors demonstrated by interventionists in a parent-mediated intervention for infants at EL-ASD. In this study, we investigated the frequency of the coaching behaviors used by the interventionists, the relationship between the use of coaching behaviors and parent education levels, and the relationship between the use of coaching behaviors and the change in parent responsiveness to their infants' attentional and communication cues. Results indicated that the joint interaction and child-focused behaviors were demonstrated most frequently by interventionists. Guided practice, caregiver practice, and problem solving were implemented less frequently. The use of the joint [...]
doi:10.17615/d1zr-0s03 fatcat:c3lxzce6vzcx3lquktd3zf53di