Prosem Lecture: Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Language Through the Lifespan

Apr. 3, 2017
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
B62 Goodnight Hall

Topic: Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Language Through the Lifespan
Presenters: Emily Lorang, M.S., CF-SLP; and Laura Friedman, M.S., CF-SLP; Doctoral Students, UW-Madison, CSD

The influence of child factors on maternal input to children with Down syndrome (Emily Lorang)

Parent input has a significant influence on language development in children with Down syndrome (DS) and typically developing (TD) children. Mothers of TD children increase their language complexity as their children develop more complex expressive language abilities. My current work investigates child factors influencing maternal input to children with DS during a mother-child free play activity. Findings indicate that mothers of children with DS talk more but use less grammatically complex utterances compared to mothers of TD children. Developmental level significantly predicts some but not all features of parent input in mothers of children with DS. This research sheds light on how mothers of children with DS communicate differently and are in tune to developmental ability.

Conversational language in adults with ASD (Laura Friedman)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder. Our knowledge of language outcomes in adults with ASD has largely been based on parent report and not observational measures. My current work examines conversational language in adults with ASD during a semi-structured interview, and how these skills predict residential and vocational outcomes in these adults nine years later (Adolescents and Adults with Autism Study; Seltzer et al., 2003). Findings indicate there is large variation in communication skills of adults with ASD. Additionally, repetitive language and other pragmatic skills are correlated with concurrent residential outcomes, and language mazes during conversation predict residential outcomes at a nine-year follow up point. This research highlights the importance of communication skills in adults with ASD and the effect that these skills have on later life outcomes.