Podcast: A 2022 Day of Learning Quickie

This year’s Day of Learning was a huge success, with topics ranging from biological sex differences to mobile technologies all the way to the importance and documented value of leisure activities in people on the spectrum. the speakers included a discussion of the IACC, sex differences, the value of prevalence data, mobile technologies, leisure activities, and a recognition of two advocates who made or make a difference in families: Samantha Els and Suzanne Wright. Listen to this week’s podcast here for a quickie, but don’t let it prevent you from watching the longer videos, a link to which can be found below.

2022 Day of Learning presentations in full



In this study we investigated the impact of parental language input on language development and associated neuroscillatory patterns in toddlers at risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Forty-six mother-toddler dyads at either high (n = 22) or low (n = 24) familial risk of ASD completed a longitudinal, prospective study including free-play, resting electroencephalography, and standardized language assessments. Input quantity/quality at 18 months positively predicted expressive language at 24 months, and relationships were stronger for high-risk toddlers. Moderated mediations revealed that input-language relationships were explained by 24-month frontal and temporal gamma power (30-50 Hz) for high-risk toddlers who would later develop ASD. Results suggest that high-risk toddlers may be cognitively and neurally more sensitive to their language environments, which has implications for early intervention.

Keywords: Autism; EEG; Early experience; Language development; Language input.

Racial differences in parent report of concerns about their child’s development to healthcare providers may contribute to delayed autism spectrum disorder diagnoses in Black children. We tested the hypotheses that compared to White parents, Black parents of children with autism spectrum disorder would report fewer concerns about autism symptoms and would be more likely to report concerns about disruptive behaviors. A sample of 18- to 40-month-old toddlers ( N = 174) with autism spectrum disorder and their parent participated. After screening positive for autism spectrum disorder risk, but prior to a diagnostic evaluation, parents completed free-response questions soliciting concerns about their child’s development. Parent responses were coded for the presence or the absence of 10 possible concerns, which were grouped into autism concerns (e.g. social and restricted and repetitive behavior concerns) or non-autism concerns (e.g. general developmental and disruptive behavior concerns). Compared to White parents, Black parents reported significantly fewer autism concerns and fewer social and restricted and repetitive behavior concerns. However, Black parents did not report significantly fewer non-autism concerns. Race did not influence parent report of disruptive behavior concerns. Lower reporting of autism concerns by Black parents may impact providers’ abilities to identify children who need further screening or evaluation.

There are inconsistent findings regarding parent and teacher agreement on behavioral ratings of their children with autism. One possible reason for this inconsistency is that studies have not taken autism severity into account. This study examined parent and teacher concordance of social behavior based on symptom severity for children with autism. Participants were 123 parent-teacher dyads who completed the Social Responsiveness Scale. Symptom severity was assessed using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). Results indicated that parent and teacher ratings were statistically significantly correlated at the beginning and end of the academic year, but only for severely affected children. Teacher report of social deficits was correlated with symptom severity as measured by the ADOS; parent report was not. These findings have implications for improving assessment procedures and parent-teacher collaboration.

Keywords: Social Responsiveness Scale; autism; autism spectrum disorder; parent-teacher relationships; social behavior.

Problem solving between parents and teachers is critical to maximizing student outcomes. The current study examined the associations among the different components of problem solving, as well as the relationship between various characteristics and problem solving in parents and teachers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants were 18 teachers and 39 parents of children with ASD. Parents and teachers completed a demographic survey, phone interview, and dyad observation. Results indicated that parent and teacher problem solving strategies were correlated with each other. Lower-income parents and parents interacting with White teachers displayed less problem solving. Findings suggest that school-based service delivery models to improve problem solving should consider both skill development, as well as the sociodemographic characteristics that parents and teachers bring to their interactions.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; communication; family involvement; parent–teacher relationships; problem solving.