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Ninth International Conference; Paris, France; 2017

Event Details

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Paper Session #49
Topics in Autism: Basic Research
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Forum EF, Niveau 1
Area: AUT
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Saba Torabian (University of California Davis)
Very Early Behavioral Markers of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review
Domain: Basic Research
AMY E. TANNER (Queen's University Belfast; Monarch House), Katerina Dounavi (Queen's University of Belfast; Magiko Sympan)
Abstract: Recent research suggests that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) symptoms can be detected between 6 and 18 months of age, however the average age of diagnosis is 4 years of age or older. Optimal outcomes in children with ASD are linked to the age at which the child began intervention, with the most significant gains being observed in children who begin behavioral intervention prior to 2 years of age. Therefore it remains a priority to continue to identify the earliest markers of ASD, to allow children to access intervention services as early as possible. Research looking at early ASD signs can be categorized into three domains (a) Retrospective studies (b) Video-tape review and (C) prospective studies, however this review exclusively examined prospective studies. The purpose of the current review was to systematically identify and analyze the prospective research which identifies early behavior signs of ASD in children less than 18 months of age. Systematic searches were conducted in four electronic databases: Medline, PubMed Resources Information Center (ERIC) and PsycINFO. Searches were limited to peer-reviewed journal articles, written in English and published within the previous 15 years (January 2001- January 2016). To be included in this review, studies met the following criteria: (1) the study included at least one participant aged18 months or younger (2) a pre and/or post screening or diagnostic tool or coding system was administered to determine the presence of ASD symptoms or a diagnosis (3) the symptoms were behavioral and observable (4) operational definitions of the symptoms were provided (5) an experimental design was used (6) Studies were prospective in nature. The reliability of the database searches was measured by calculating the total identical articles out of the total articles the independent researcher retrieved. Additional articles retrieved from references or from independent researcher were then filtered by the inclusion criteria. Additional articles that had 100% agreement between researchers were included in this review.
Assessing Language Disfluency in School-Aged Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Virtual Public Speaking Task
Domain: Basic Research
SABA TORABIAN (University of California Davis)
Abstract: Higher-functioning children with autism (HFA) may display language on par with typical controls (TD) on standardized measures, yet they may not use language fluently in social contexts. In this study, a virtual reality public speaking paradigm was used to compare rates of disfluency in children with HFA, children with ASD/ADHD comorbid group, children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and TD children. The attention demands were varied to examine the effects of differences in cognitive load on language disfluency. The participants were 140 children ranging in age from 8 to 16 years old at the onset of the study. Of those 140 children, 77 had HFA and 52 of these children had clinical elevations of ADHD on the Conners-3 Parent Report. Therefore, they were categorized in the ASD/ADHD comorbid group. Twenty-five of 77 were categorized as ASD only. 33 of the 140 were ADHD only, and 30 children as TD matched to IQ (FSIQ =75). Their speech was audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed for seven measures of disfluencies (partial-words, repetition, abandon, incomplete, revision, ums, and uhs). The results revealed that children in ASD/ADHD comorbid group displayed the highest rate of language disfluency with tasks that require more attention demands (more cognitive loads) than tasks with less attention demands compared to all the other three groups of children. The same group of children in ASD/ADHD comorbid group was especially prone to using word repetitions among the seven types of language disfluencies. Greater rates of disfluency were also significantly correlated with Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) among the two ASD groups (with or without ADHD sympotoms) but was not significantly correlated with ADOS among the ADHD-only sample. Comorbidity of autism with other forms of mental disabilities that are less debilitating are often ignored. These data suggest that the risk for language impairment and in this case language disfluency could be intensified when the child is not only affected by autism but also by other forms of mental disabilities such as ADHD. When it comes to language impairment, considering the comorbidity of autism with other forms of mental disabilities such as ADHD could have clinical implications not only for better understanding the interfering factors but also for finding better treatments



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