Communicative use of triadic eye gaze in children with Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities

Laura J. Hahn, Nancy C. Brady, Theresa Versaci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study examines differences in the communicative use of triadic eye gaze (TEG) during a communicative interaction in 2 neurodevelopmental disorders: Down syndrome (DS) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and a 3rd group of varying disabilities associated with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). Also, the relationship between TEG use and language abilities was explored. Method: Participants were 45 children, 15 in each group. The frequency of TEG was coded during a scripted communication assessment when children were between 3 and 6 years of age (37–73 months). Receptive and expressive language was measured using raw scores from the Mullen Scales of Early Learning concurrently between 3 and 6 years and again 2 years later when children were between 5 and 8 years (59–92 months). Results: Descriptively, children with DS had a higher frequency of TEG than children with ASD and IDD, but significant differences were only observed between children with DS and ASD. More TEG at Time 1 in children with DS was associated with higher receptive language at Time 1 and higher expressive language at Time 2. For children with ASD, a trend for a positive association between TEG at Time 1 and language abilities at Time 2 was observed. No significant associations were observed for children with IDD. Conclusion: Children with DS used TEG significantly more than children with ASD in this sample. Identifying strengths and weaknesses in TEG use is important because providing caregiver training to facilitate TEG can result in increased opportunities to respond with language models and promote language development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1509-1522
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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