Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are characterized by pervasive impairments in communication, socialization, and repetitive behaviors or interests. While there is a growing interest in early ASDs, very few studies have looked at the nature of these impairments before age 3. In order to better strengthen early assessment and intervention for ASDs, more knowledge is needed in this area. The current studies aimed to determine if, and in what ways, communication impairments are present in infants and toddlers (17-37 months) diagnosed with autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). In the first study, infants with autism and PDD-NOS (i.e., the ASD group) were compared to typically developing infants. In the second study, three groups were compared: autism, PDD-NOS, and non-ASD related developmentally delayed. Differences in communication impairments were assessed using the endorsement of communication items found on the Baby and Infant Screen for Children with aUtIsm Traits (BISCUIT), Part 1. Differences in overall communication impairments were assessed, as well as differences on specific communication items. Results found that infants with an ASD exhibit greater communication impairments than do typically developing infants, with all items displaying significant differences. Additionally, significant differences were found in overall communication impairments between all three groups in the second study, with the majority of items differentiating between the groups. The implications of these results, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Matson, Johnny L.



Included in

Psychology Commons