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Do parentese prosody and fathers' involvement in interacting facilitate social interaction in infants who later develop autism?

Cohen D, et al. PLoS One. 2013.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Whether development of autism impacts the interactive process between an infant and his/her parents remains an unexplored issue.

METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using computational analysis taking into account synchronic behaviors and emotional prosody (parentese), we assessed the course of infants' responses to parents' type of speech in home movies from typically developing (TD) infants and infants who will subsequently develop autism aged less than 18 months. Our findings indicate: that parentese was significantly associated with infant responses to parental vocalizations involving orientation towards other people and with infant receptive behaviours; that parents of infants developing autism displayed more intense solicitations that were rich in parentese; that fathers of infants developing autism spoke to their infants more than fathers of TD infants; and that fathers' vocalizations were significantly associated with intersubjective responses and active behaviours in infants who subsequently developed autism.

CONCLUSION: The parents of infants who will later develop autism change their interactive pattern of behaviour by both increasing parentese and father's involvement in interacting with infants; both are significantly associated with infant's social responses. We stress the possible therapeutic implications of these findings and its implication for Dean Falk's theory regarding pre-linguistic evolution in early hominins.

PMID

23650498 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

PMCID

PMC3641085

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