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Communication Initiation and Effectiveness in Infants with Elevated Likelihood for ASD

Plate, Samantha Nicole (2023) Communication Initiation and Effectiveness in Infants with Elevated Likelihood for ASD. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Infants initiate interactions in order to get their wants and needs met; but sometimes infants are not effective in their communication and they are misunderstood by caregivers. When this happens, they must recognize the breakdown in their communication and make repairs. Experimental literature suggests that neurotypically developing infants acquire these skills during their first two years. However, little work has investigated communication breakdowns and repairs in populations of infants with known social communication difficulties, e.g., infants with elevated likelihood for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here we explored early social communication initiations, breakdowns, and repair strategies in naturalistic videos of infants with elevated likelihood (EL) for ASD and other developmental delays and infants with typical likelihood (EL) for ASD. EL infants, including those diagnosed with ASD, initiated with caregivers, experienced breakdowns, and made repairs at similar rates to TL infants. However, the types of behaviors used differed, such that EL infants appeared to have a relative strength in behavior regulation bids. Additionally, EL infants later diagnosed with ASD used a large proportion of developmentally appropriate repair behaviors (i.e., addition and substitution), even though their repertoire of strategies was smaller. On the other hand, EL-ASD infants also used a larger proportion of simplification repairs, which are less developmentally advanced and less helpful to interlocutors. Identifying patterns in how EL infants communicate with caregivers and capitalizing on their strengths could improve interventions focused on social communication.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Plate, Samantha Nicolesnp52@pitt.edusnp52
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairIverson, Jana Miversonj@bu.edujiverson
Committee MemberShaw, Danieldanielshaw@pitt.edudanielshaw
Committee MemberStrauss, Markstrauss@pitt.edustrauss
Date: 27 January 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 August 2022
Approval Date: 27 January 2023
Submission Date: 21 November 2022
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 60
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: autism, effective communication, elevated likelihood infants, infant-caregiver interactions
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2023 19:36
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2023 19:36


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