Activities and Seminars

Letitia R. Naigles. Processes of Early Language Acquisition in Children with ASD: Comprehension Matters
Date: Apr 30, 2013

What: Processes of Early Language Acquisition in Children with ASD: Comprehension Matters

Where: BCBL auditorium

Who: Letitia R. Naigles. University of Connecticut, USA.

When: 12 noon

Language and communication impairments are considered to be a primary deficit of autism spectrum disorders (ASD); however, it is not clear when during development these impairments emerge, nor the extent to which they can be attributed to impairments in core aspects of language per se vs. impairments in other social or cognitive processes. Moreover, most research on the early language of children with ASD relies on standardized tests, which do not target specific aspects of language in depth, and which may underestimate children’s linguistic knowledge. For the past decade, I have conducted a longitudinal study assessing the language development of a group of children recently diagnosed with an ASD, whose language comprehension was assessed using an innovative method for this population, Intermodal Preferential Looking (IPL). In this talk, I will discuss IPL data addressing two core processes of language acquisition that have seemed aberrant in children with ASD; namely, the developmental precedence of comprehension/receptive language over production/expressive language, and implicit generalization or rule use. I also discuss how both ‘internal’ processing speed and ‘external’ social and environmental factors have been found to be associated with the children’s developing language comprehension. I conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for advancing our understanding of autism and of language.