Naturalistic Language Recordings Reveal “Hypervocal” Infants at High Familial Risk for Autism
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Children's early language environments are related to later development. Little is known about this association in siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who often experience language delays or have ASD. Fifty-nine 9-month-old infants at high or low familial risk for ASD contributed full-day in-home language recordings. High-risk infants produced more vocalizations than low-risk peers; conversational turns and adult words did not differ by group. Vocalization differences were driven by a subgroup of "hypervocal" infants. Despite more vocalizations overall, these infants engaged in less social babbling during a standardized clinic assessment, and they experienced fewer conversational turns relative to their rate of vocalizations. Two ways in which these individual and environmental differences may relate to subsequent development are discussed.
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