Research by Topic: Speech

Language Tool Aims to Measure Children’s Conversation Skills

Published August 6, 2014 in Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

A test designed to characterize natural, spontaneous language use in autism shows solid promise in its first trials in typically developing children. The results were published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.The researchers assessed the ease of use and reliability of the test in 180 typically developing children in Michigan, ranging in age from 2 to 5 years. They confirmed that the youngest children can do the various tasks on the test and that the codes developed for the test match the skills of the oldest children. The researchers’ goal is to build a baseline of standard scores against which the scores of children with autism or other communication disorders can be compared.

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Spatial, Verbal Skills in Autism Even Out with Age

Published February 14, 2014 in Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

A rigorous new study confirms that boys with autism tend to score higher on tests of spatial and analytical abilities than on those for verbal skills. But the gap decreases by the time they reach 10 years of age. This suggests that the trait cannot be used to define children with autism or their families, the researchers say. Instead, it may be a pattern of development common in children with autism or other developmental disorders. The report was published in the January issue of the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

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Senses of Sight and Sound Separated in Children with Autism

Published January 14, 2014 in Vanderbilt University

Like watching a foreign movie that was badly dubbed, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have trouble integrating simultaneous information from their eyes and their ears, according to a Vanderbilt study. The study, led by Mark Wallace, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, is the first to illustrate the link and strongly suggests that deficits in the sensory building blocks for language and communication can ultimately hamper social and communication skills in children with autism.

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iPads Help Late-Speaking Children with Autism Develop Language

Published November 12, 2013 in Vanderbilt University

New research out of Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development found that using speech-generating devices, such as iPads, to encourage children ages 5 to 8 to develop speaking skills resulted in the subjects developing considerably more spoken words compared to other interventions. All of the children in the study learned new spoken words and several learned to produce short sentences as they moved through the training.

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Genetic Link Between Family Members with Autism and Language Impairment

Published October 30, 2013 in American Journal of Psychiatry

New research shows a genetic link between individuals with autism and family members with specific speech and language difficulties otherwise unexplained by cognitive or physical problems. Researchers discovered that genes in a small region of two chromosomes can lead to one family member developing autism and another family member only developing language impairment.

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Study of Nonverbal Autism Must Go Beyond Words, Experts Say

Published September 2, 2013 in Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute

About one fourth of people with autism are minimally verbal or nonverbal. Early intervention programs have been helping children develop language skills, but researchers say that seemingly unrelated issues such as motor skills and joint attention may hold the key to communication development.

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Voices May Not Trigger Brain’s Reward Centers in Children with ASD

Published June 17, 2013 in PNAS

This Stanford study identifies an underconnectivity between the voice-selective cortex and the reward centers in the brain. This could suggest why children with autism have trouble grasping the social and emotional aspects of human speech.

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Special Issue on: School-based Research of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published May 1, 2013 in Autism

Autism Special Issue

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Predictors of Phrase and Fluent Speech in Children With Autism and Severe Language Delay

Published March 4, 2013 in Pediatrics

Researchers at Kennedy Krieger examined prevalence and predictors of language attainment in severely language-delayed children with ASD. 70% of the sample attained phrase speech and 47% attained fluent speech at or after age 4, indicating that later gains in language are likely in toddlers with severely delayed language. Children with high nonverbal intelligence and high levels of social interest and engagement were most likely to attain language. ASD-related features such as repetitive and sensory behaviors were not associated with language attainment.

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Early Intervention Could Help Autistic Children Learn to Speak

Published July 17, 2012 in Scientific American

New follow-up study shows long-term language improvement for kids with autism after an intensive, targeted behavioral therapy program.

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Structure of language pathways differs in non-verbal autism

Published November 14, 2011 in SFARI

Non-verbal children with autism show structural differences in key language areas of the brain compared with controls, according to a poster presented Saturday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

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Children With Autism Benefit from Early, Intensive Therapy

Published September 28, 2011 in Science Daily

A primary characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is impairments in social-communication skills. Children and adolescents with social-communication problems face difficulty understanding, interacting and relating with others. University of Missouri researchers found that children who receive more intensive therapy to combat these impairments, especially at early ages, achieve the best outcomes.

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A Systematic Review of Early Intensive Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published April 1, 2011 in Pediatrics

Researchers at Vanderbilt University reviewed the effectiveness of early intervention programs for children aged 12 and younger with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Overall, the strength of the evidence ranged from insufficient to low. Studies performed at the University of California Los Angeles /Lovaas-based interventions and variants reported clinically significant gains in language and cognitive skills […]

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A Systematic Review of Secretin for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published April 1, 2011 in Pediatrics

Krishnaswami et al. Researchers at Vanderbilt University found that secretin, a medical treatment for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) that was popularized in the 1990s, is ineffective in the treatment of ASDs. Evidence from seven randomized controlled trials suggests that secretin does not effectively treat the symptoms of ASDs, which include language and communication impairment, symptom […]

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New Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised Algorithms for Toddlers and Young Preschoolers from 12 to 47 Months of Age

Published March 1, 2011 in J Autism Developmental Disorders, Kim et al.

The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised is a tool clinician’s use for the diagnosis of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The diagnostic algorithms of the evaluative tool were altered to improve sensitivity and specificity compared to the previous algorithm.

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Post-High School Service Use Among Young Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published February 1, 2011 in Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, Shattuck et al.

Researchers conducted a telephone survey to determine the rates of service use among young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) during their first few years after high school. Rates of service ranged from 9.1% for speech therapy to 41.9% for case management. 39.1% of youths with an ASD represented by the survey received no services. […]

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Gene Discovery Supports Link Between Handedness And Language-Related Disorders

Published November 8, 2010 in Medical News Today

Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, have identified a genetic variant which influences whether a person with dyslexia is more skilled with either the left or right hand. The finding identifies a novel gene for handedness and provides the first genetic evidence to support a much speculated link between handedness and a language-related disorder.

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Siblings of Autistic Children May Have Some Autism Related Traits, Study Says

Published October 11, 2010 in LA Times

Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine have uncovered more evidence of a genetic basis for autism. Reviewing surveys collected from more than 1,000 families with autistic kids, they discovered that siblings of autistic children who have not been diagnosed with the disease often exhibit mild traits of autism, including speech delays.,0,976254.story

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Language Delays Found in Siblings of Children with Autism

Published October 3, 2010 in Medical News Today

A new study, led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found mild traits, not strong enough to provoke a diagnosis of autism, seem to be present in the siblings of affected children at significantly higher rates than seen in the general population. Siblings of children with autism have more frequent language delays and other subtle characteristics of the disorder than previously understood. Girls also may be mildly affected more often than recognized in the past.

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Language as a Window into Sociability

Published August 13, 2010 in Science Daily

People with Williams syndrome-known for their indiscriminate friendliness and ease with strangers-process spoken language differently from people with autism spectrum disorders-characterized by social withdrawal and isolation-found researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

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New Technology Reveals a Unique Vocal Signature in Autism

Published July 20, 2010 in Medical News Today

Study reports new automated vocal analysis technology could fundamentally change the study of language development as well as the screening for autism spectrum disorders and language delay.

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Language Dysfunction in Children May Be Due to Epilectic Brain Activity

Published April 23, 2010 in Science Daily

Epileptic activity in the brain can affect language development in children, and EEG registrations should therefore be carried out more frequently on children with severe language impairment to identify more readily those who may need medical treatment, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.

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Brain Becomes Tuned to Voices and Emotional Tone of Voice During Pregnancy

Published March 24, 2010 in Science Daily

New research finds that the brains of infants as young as 7 months old demonstrate a sensitivity to the human voice and to emotions communicated through the voice that is remarkably similar to what is observed in the brains of adults.

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Music Training Enhances Brainstem Activity to Speech Sounds

Published February 22, 2010 in Science Daily

At a Feb. 20 press briefing held during the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, a Northwestern University neuroscientist argued that music training has profound effects that shape the sensory system and should be a mainstay of K-12 education. Kraus presented her own research and the research of other neuroscientists suggesting music education can be an effective strategy in helping typically developing children as well as children with developmental dyslexia or autism more accurately encode speech.

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Early Intervention for Toddlers With Autism Highly Effective, Study Finds

Published November 30, 2009 in Science Daily

A novel early intervention program for very young children with autism — some as young as 18 months — is effective for improving IQ, language ability and social interaction, a comprehensive new study has found.

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Linkage, Association, and Gene Expression Analyses Identify CNTNAP2 as an Autism-Susceptibility Gene

Published January 1, 2008 in American Journal of Human Genetics, Alarcon, Abrahams, et al.

Autism is a genetically complex neurodevelopmental syndrome in which language deficits are a core feature. We describe results from two complimentary approaches used to identify risk variants on chromosome 7 that likely contribute to the etiology of autism. A two-stage association study tested 2758 SNPs across a 10 Mb 7q35 language-related autism QTL in AGRE […]

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Infant and Toddler Oral and Manual Motor Skills Predict Later Speech Fluency in Autism

Published November 2, 2007 in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Gernsbacher, Sauer, et al

Infant and toddler oral-motor and manual-motor skills inter-correlated significantly, distinguished autistic children from typically developing children, and distinguished autistic children whose current-day speech was minimally fluent, moderately fluent, and highly fluent. These results were corroborated by analysis of historical home video and verified with current-day assessment.

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