Socialization and nonverbal communication in atypically developing infants and toddlers

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Emphasis on early identification of atypical development has increased as evidence supporting the efficacy of intervention has grown. These increases have also directly affected the availability of funding and providers of early intervention services. A majority of research has focused on interventions specific to an individual's primary diagnoses. For example, interventions for those with cerebral palsy (CP) have traditionally focused on physiological symptoms, while intervention for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) focus on socialization, communication, and restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. However deficits in areas other than those related to their primary diagnoses (e.g., communication, adaptive behaviors, and social skills) are prevalent in atypically developing populations and are significant predictors of quality of life. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine impairments in socialization and nonverbal communication in individuals with Down's syndrome (DS), CP, and those with CP and comorbid ASD. Individuals with comorbid CP and ASD exhibited significantly greater impairments than any diagnostic group alone. However, individuals with CP also exhibited significantly greater impairments than those with DS. The implications of these results are discussed.

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Research in developmental disabilities

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