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In this comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of group design studies of nonpharmacological early interventions designed for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we report summary effects across 7 early intervention types (behavioral, developmental, naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention [NDBI], TEACCH, sensory-based, animal-assisted, and technology-based), and 15 outcome categories indexing core and related ASD symptoms. A total of 1,615 effect sizes were gathered from 130 independent participant samples. A total of 6,240 participants, who ranged in age from 0-8 years, are represented across the studies. We synthesized effects within intervention and outcome type using a robust variance estimation approach to account for the nesting of effect sizes within studies. We also tracked study quality indicators, and report an additional set of summary effect sizes that restrict included studies to those meeting prespecified quality indicators. Finally, we conducted moderator analyses to evaluate whether summary effects across intervention types were larger for proximal as compared with distal effects, and for context-bound as compared to generalized effects. We found that when study quality indicators were not taken into account, significant positive effects were found for behavioral, developmental, and NDBI intervention types. When effect size estimation was limited to studies with randomized controlled trial (RCT) designs, evidence of positive summary effects existed only for developmental and NDBI intervention types. This was also the case when outcomes measured by parent report were excluded. Finally, when effect estimation was limited to RCT designs and to outcomes for which there was no risk of detection bias, no intervention types showed significant effects on any outcome. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Purpose We examined associations between vocal communication with canonical syllables and expressive language and then examined 2 potential alternative explanations for such associations. Method Specifically, we tested whether the associations remained when excluding canonical syllables in identifiable words and controlling for the number of communication acts. Participants included 68 preverbal or low verbal children with autism spectrum disorder ( = 35.26 months). Results Vocal communication with canonical syllables and expressive language were concurrently and longitudinally associated with moderate to strong (s = .13-.70) and significant (s < .001) effect sizes. Even when excluding spoken words from the vocal predictor and controlling for the number of communication acts, vocal communication with canonical syllables predicted expressive language. Conclusions The findings provide increased support for measuring vocal communication with canonical syllables and for examining a causal relation between vocal communication with canonical syllables and expressive language in children with ASD who are preverbal or low verbal. In future studies, it may be unnecessary to eliminate identifiable words when measuring vocal communication in this population. Following replication, vocal communication with canonical syllables may be considered when making intervention- planning decisions.
To identify valid measures of vocal development in young children with autism spectrum disorder in the early stages of language learning, we evaluated the convergent validity, divergent validity, and sensitivity to change (across 12 months) of two measures of vocal communication and two measures of vocal complexity through conventional coding of communication samples. Participants included 87 children with autism spectrum disorder (M = 23.42 months at entry). All four vocal variables demonstrated consistent evidence of convergent validity, divergent validity, and sensitivity to change with large effect sizes for convergent validity and sensitivity to change. The results highlight the value of measuring vocal communication and vocal complexity in future studies.
During our everyday lives, we are confronted with a vast amount of information from several sensory modalities. This multisensory information needs to be appropriately integrated for us to effectively engage with and learn from our world. Research carried out over the last half century has provided new insights into the way such multisensory processing improves human performance and perception; the neurophysiological foundations of multisensory function; the time course for its development; how multisensory abilities differ in clinical populations; and, most recently, the links between multisensory processing and cognitive abilities. This review summarizes the extant literature on multisensory function in typical and atypical circumstances, discusses the implications of the work carried out to date for theory and research, and points toward next steps for advancing the field.
Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate if higher quantity, diversity, and grammatical informativeness of verb phrases in parent follow-in utterances (i.e., utterances that mapped onto child attentional leads) were significantly related to later expressive verb vocabulary in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Method We examined these associations in a sample of 31 toddlers with ASD and their parents in a longitudinal correlational study. Key aspects of parents' verb input were measured in 2 video-recorded 15-min parent-child free-play sessions. Child expressive verb vocabulary was measured using parent report. Results An aggregate variable composed of the quantity, diversity, and grammatical informativeness of parent verb input in follow-in utterances across the 2 parent-child sessions strongly and positively predicted later child expressive verb vocabulary, total R = .25, even when early child expressive verb vocabulary was controlled, R change = .17. Parent follow-in utterances without verbs were not significantly related to later child expressive verb vocabulary, R = .001. Conclusions These correlational findings are initial steps toward developing a knowledge base for how strong verb vocabulary skills might be facilitated in children with ASD.
Atypical responses to tactile stimulation have been linked to core domains of dysfunction in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and phenotypic traits associated with ASD in neurotypical individuals. We investigated (a) the extent to which two psychophysically derived measures of tactile sensitivity-detection threshold and dynamic range-relate to traits associated with ASD and (b) whether those relations vary according to the presence of self-reported sensory hypersensitivities in neurotypical individuals. A narrow dynamic range was associated with increased autism-related traits in individuals who reported greater sensory hypersensitivity. In contrast, in individuals less prone to sensory hypersensitivity, a narrow dynamic range was associated with reduced autism-related traits. Findings highlight the potential importance of considering dynamic psychophysical metrics in future studies.
The relation between caregiver follow-in utterances with verbs presented in different states of dyadic engagement and later child expressive verb vocabulary in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was examined in 29 toddlers with ASD and their caregivers. Caregiver verb input in follow-in utterances presented during higher order supported joint engagement (HSJE) accounted for a significant, large amount of variance in later child verb vocabulary; R= .26. This relation remained significant when controlling for early verb vocabulary or verb input in lower support engagement states. Other types of talk in follow-in utterances in HSJE did not correlate with later verb vocabulary. These findings are an important step towards identifying interactional contexts that facilitate verb learning in children with ASD.
The human dopamine (DA) transporter (hDAT) mediates clearance of DA. Genetic variants in hDAT have been associated with DA dysfunction, a complication associated with several brain disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here, we investigated the structural and behavioral bases of an ASD-associated in-frame deletion in hDAT at N336 (∆N336). We uncovered that the deletion promoted a previously unobserved conformation of the intracellular gate of the transporter, likely representing the rate-limiting step of the transport process. It is defined by a "half-open and inward-facing" state (HOIF) of the intracellular gate that is stabilized by a network of interactions conserved phylogenetically, as we demonstrated in hDAT by Rosetta molecular modeling and fine-grained simulations, as well as in its bacterial homolog leucine transporter by electron paramagnetic resonance analysis and X-ray crystallography. The stabilization of the HOIF state is associated both with DA dysfunctions demonstrated in isolated brains of expressing hDAT ∆N336 and with abnormal behaviors observed at high-time resolution. These flies display increased fear, impaired social interactions, and locomotion traits we associate with DA dysfunction and the HOIF state. Together, our results describe how a genetic variation causes DA dysfunction and abnormal behaviors by stabilizing a HOIF state of the transporter.
Obtaining stable estimates of caregiver-child joint engagement states is of interest for researchers who study development and early intervention in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, studies to date have offered little guidance on the numbers of sessions and coders necessary to obtain sufficiently stable estimates of these constructs. We used procedures derived from G theory to carry out a generalizability study, in which we partitioned error variance between two facets of our system for measuring joint engagement states: session and coder. A decision study was then conducted to determine the number of sessions and coders required to obtain g coefficients of 0.80, an a priori threshold set for acceptable stability. This process was conducted separately for 10 infant siblings of children with ASD (Sibs-ASD) and 10 infants whose older sibling did not have ASD (Sibs-TD), and for two different joint engagement states; lower- and higher-order supported joint engagement (LSJE and HSJE, respectively). Results indicated that, in the Sibs-ASD group, four sessions and one coder was required to obtain acceptably stable estimates for HSJE; only one session and one coder were required for LSJE. In the Sibs-TD group, two sessions and one coder were required for HSJE; seven sessions and two coders were required for LSJE. Implications for measurement in future research are discussed. Autism Res 2019, 12: 495-504 © 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. LAY SUMMARY: This study offers guidance for researchers who measure joint engagement between caregivers and infants who have an older sibling with ASD, and who have older siblings who are TD.
© 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
An ever-growing literature has aimed to determine how individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) differ from their typically developing (TD) peers on measures of multisensory integration (MSI) and to ascertain the degree to which differences in MSI are associated with the broad range of symptoms associated with ASD. Findings, however, have been highly variable across the studies carried out to date. The present work systematically reviews and quantitatively synthesizes the large literature on audiovisual MSI in individuals with ASD to evaluate the cumulative evidence for (a) group differences between individuals with ASD and TD peers, (b) correlations between MSI and autism symptoms in individuals with ASD and (c) study level factors that may moderate findings (i.e., explain differential effects) observed across studies. To identify eligible studies, a comprehensive search strategy was employed using the ProQuest search engine, PubMed database, forwards and backwards citation searches, direct author contact, and hand-searching of select conference proceedings. A significant between-group difference in MSI was evident in the literature, with individuals with ASD demonstrating worse audiovisual integration on average across studies compared to TD controls. This effect was moderated by mean participant age, such that between-group differences were more pronounced in younger samples. The mean correlation between MSI and autism and related symptomatology was also significant, indicating that increased audiovisual integration in individuals with ASD is associated with better language/communication abilities and/or reduced autism symptom severity in the extant literature. This effect was moderated by whether the stimuli were linguistic versus non-linguistic in nature, such that correlation magnitudes tended to be significantly greater when linguistic stimuli were utilized in the measure of MSI. Limitations and future directions for primary and meta-analytic research are discussed.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.