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Parental Imitations and Expansions of Child Language Predict Later Language Outcomes of Autistic Preschoolers

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posted on 2023-10-12, 03:57 authored by Jodie SmithJodie Smith, Rhylee SulekRhylee Sulek, Kailia Van Der Wert, Olivia Cincotta-Lee, Cherie GreenCherie Green, Catherine BentCatherine Bent, Lacey ChetcutiLacey Chetcuti, Kristelle HudryKristelle Hudry
Both the amount and responsiveness of adult language input contribute to the language development of autistic and non-autistic children. From parent–child interaction footage, we measured the amount of adult language input, overall parent responsiveness, and six discrete parent responsive behaviours (imitations, expansions, open-ended questions, yes/no questions, comments and acknowledgements) to explore which types of responsiveness predicted autistic preschoolers’ language five months later, after controlling for adult language input. We found expansions and particularly imitations to be more important for later language than overall responsiveness. This study emphasises the need to capture what exactly about parent language input influences child language acquisition, and adds to the evidence that imitating and expanding early language might be particularly beneficial for autistic preschoolers.


This study was funded by Australian Government Department of Social Services (Grant No. 4-1MGF0J6) to Kristelle Hudry.


Publication Date



Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders






14p. (p. 4107-4120)





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