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Activities and Seminars

Helen Tager-Flusberg. The developmental origins of language and communication in autism spectrum disorder
 
Date: May 03, 2013

What: The developmental origins of language and communication in autism spectrum disorder

Where: BCBL auditorium

Who: Helen Tager-Flusberg, Professor of Psychology, Boston University, MA

When: 6:30 pm


Language and communicative impairments are among the core deficits that define ASD, yet there is significant heterogeneity in the range of language phenotypes. Several studies have been conducted with toddlers diagnosed with ASD to identify factors that predict later language outcomes: the most significant predictors include gestural communication, nonverbal cognition, and social intentional behavior (e.g., imitation or joint attention). Few studies have focused on the origins of language prior to the emergence of autism symptoms. In this talk I will present findings from an ongoing study of infants at high risk for ASD, identified on the basis on an older sibling with the disorder. Data from early measures of precursors and emerging language, mother-child interactions, eye-tracking and neurophysiological measures will be presented. Difference between high risk infants and low risk controls are seen across different measures, but these are not all predictive of later ASD or language impairment outcomes. Discussion will focus on the use of neurocognitive language measures as endophenotypes for ASD and as risk markers for this population.