The relationship of developmental functioning to symptom presentation in young children with ASD

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University of Alabama Libraries

The present study examined the differences between young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and typical development (TD) on developmental skills and core symptoms of ASD. Further, the relationship between core symptoms of ASD and developmental functioning level were assessed. Specific symptoms, joint attention, symbolic play, gestures, and RSB, as well as general symptom categories were assessed in children with ASD (n=10) and children with typical developmental (n=10) who were matched on mental age and gender. Method: Measures of social communication, speech, symbolic play, gestures, and joint attention were obtained through the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales (CSBS: Wetherby and Prizant, 2002). Developmental level was measured using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL: Mullen, 1992). Results: Children with ASD demonstrated decreased abilities in symbolic play and understanding, social communication, joint attention, and gestures compared to children with TD. Children with ASD also demonstrated more RSB with body and objects. Strong correlations among social, symbolic, speech, and gestural were observed. Speech and symbolic skills, as well as social and gestural skills were the only relationships to remain highly correlated even when developmental level was controlled. Conclusions: These findings highlight the diagnostic significance of developmental level to core symptoms of ASD. Research aims and the impact of these findings on the development of specific therapy goals are also discussed.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Health Sciences, Speech Pathology, Behavioral sciences, Communication