Behavioral and Physiological Responses to Child-Directed Speech of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders or Typical Development

Abstract  
Young boys with autism were compared to typically developing boys on responses to nonsocial and child-directed speech (CDS)
stimuli. Behavioral (looking) and physiological (heart rate and respiratory sinus arrhythmia) measures were collected. Boys
with autism looked equally as much as chronological age-matched peers at nonsocial stimuli, but less at CDS stimuli. Boys
with autism and language age-matched peers differed in patterns of looking at live versus videotaped CDS stimuli. Boys with
autism demonstrated faster heart rates than chronological age-matched peers, but did not differ significantly on respiratory
sinus arrhythmia. Reduced attention during CDS may restrict language-learning opportunities for children with autism. The
heart rate findings suggest that young children with autism have a nonspecific elevated arousal level.

  • Content Type Journal Article
  • Category Original paper
  • Pages 1-14
  • DOI 10.1007/s10803-011-1401-z
  • Authors
    • Linda R. Watson, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, CB# 7190, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7190, USA
    • Jane E. Roberts, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, CB #8180, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8180, USA
    • Grace T. Baranek, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, CB #7120, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7120, USA
    • Kerry C. Mandulak, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, CB# 7190, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7190, USA
    • Jennifer C. Dalton, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, CB# 7190, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7190, USA
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