The Effect of Auditory Sensory Abnormalities on Language Development in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Melissa Nikolic, Lisa Wiggins M.S., M.A. & Diana L. Robins, Ph.D. Discussion Results Background • The data did not support the hypothesis that auditory filtering or auditory sensitivity predicts receptive language, expressive language or prosody. • Sensory seeking was predictive of expressive language ability but not receptive language. • Children with ASD who actively seek out sensory stimulation may do so at the expense of engaging in play interactions that may be important for language development (Carpenter, Tomasello & Nagell, 1995). • The findings regarding auditory sensory seeking and expressive language highlight the importance of early screening for sensory abnormalities, with the expectation of improving treatment outcome for language impairment. • Future studies would benefit from including sensory abnormalities in the screening process in order to understand the full extent of auditory sensory abnormalities on language, allowing a more comprehensive approach to treatment. • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by atypical development in the domains of social, emotional, language and cognitive functioning in the first few years of life. Communication impairments include delay or lack of language, expressive and receptive, repetitive use of language. • Additional research suggests that some children with ASD also experience sensory processing abnormalities (Baker, Lane, Angley, & Young, 2008). Specifically, abnormalities in processing of auditory information have been found to occur in children with ASD (Tecchio, Benassi, Zappasodi, Giallorieti, Palermo, et. al. 2003). • Auditory sensory abnormalities in ASD is an important research topic with a proposed link to language problems (Baranek, David, Poe, Stone & Watson, 2006). • It is hypothesized that auditory sensory abnormality in young children with ASD will primarily negatively affect receptive language and prosody, and secondarily negatively affect expressive language. 1) Linear regression analyses were performed to test whether Auditory Abnormality predicted language outcomes. • Auditory sensory abnormalities were not predictive of receptive language (β = -.08, p = .41), expressive language (β = .45, p = .56), or prosody (β = -.13, p = .15) (See Table 1). 2) Separate linear regression analyses were performed to test whether the composite variables (Auditory Filtering, Auditory Sensitivity and Sensory Seeking) predicted language outcomes (See Table 2 and 3). Methods • Subjects were acquired through an archival data set from a large scale clinical study evaluating young children at risk for ASD, utilizing the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT; Robins, Fein, Barton & Green, 2001). • Subject ages ranged from 18.07- 36.37 months at time of evaluation (M = 27.01, SD= 4.33) • Receptive and expressive language were measured from the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (Mullen,1995), Prosody was measured from the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (Lord, Rutter, DiLavore, & Risi, 1999), and auditory abnormalities measured from the eight auditory items on the Sensory Profile (SP; Dunn, 1999). • Average auditory score from the Sensory Profile (Dunn, 1999) was averaged to account for missing items from the questionnaire. • Independent variables in the analysis included: 1) The average of the 8 auditory items on the Sensory Profile (Auditory Sensory Abnormalities; Dunn, 1999). 2) Three composite variables were generated based on correlations among the 8 items of the SP (Dunn, 1999). i) Auditory Filtering, items 1 and 2, r=.53, p<.05 ii) Auditory Sensitivity, items 3, 4 and 5, r=.47-.65, p<.05 iii) Sensory Seeking, items 6, 7 and 8, r= .20-.71, p<.05 References Baker, A.E.Z., Lange, A., Angley, M.T., & Young, R.L.. (2008). The relationship between sensory processing patterns and behavioural responsiveness in autistic disorder: A pilot study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 867-875. Baranek, G.T., David, F.J., Poe, M.D., Stone,W.L., & Watson, L.R. (2006). Sensory experiences questionnaire: discriminating sensory features in young children with autism, developmental delays, and typical development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 47, 591-601. Carpenter M, Nagell K, Tomasello M. (1998). Social cognition, joint attention, and communicative competence from 9 to 15 months of age. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 63, V-143. Dunn, W. (1999). Sensory Profile. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation. Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P.C., & Risi, S. (1999). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services. Robins, D.L., Fein, D., Barton, M.L., & Green (2001). The modified checklist of autism in toddlers: an initial study investigating the early detection of autism and pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 131-144. Tecchio, F., Benassi, F., Zappasodi, F., Giallorieti, L.E., Palermo, M., Seri, S., & Rossini, P.M. (2003). Auditory sensory processing in autism: A magnetoencephalographic study. Biological Psychiatry. 54(6), 647-654. Sensory Seeking was predictive of expressive language ability (See Figure 1) Sensory Seeking was not predictive of receptive language ability (See Figure 2) Lower Sensory Seeking scores indicate greater impairment Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Lauren Stites and Jamie Zaj for their technical assistance, and teams involved in Early Detection data collection at GSU and UCONN.