Assessing the minimally verbal school-aged child with autism spectrum disorder
This paper addresses the issue of assessing communication, language, and associated cognitive and behavioral abilities of minimally verbal children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), presenting a summary of a year-long series of meetings held by a group of experts in the field of ASD and National Institutes of Health staff.
In this paper, our goals were to first define the population and then present general guidelines for optimizing assessment sessions for this challenging population.
We then summarize the available measures that can be used across a variety of behavioral domains that are most directly relevant to developing language skills, including oral motor skills, vocal repertoire, receptive and expressive language, imitation, intentional communication, play, social behavior, repetitive and sensory behaviors, and nonverbal cognition.
We conclude with a discussion of some of the limitations in the available measures and highlight recommendations for future research in this area.
- Minimally verbal school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder: the neglected end of the spectrum.Tager-Flusberg H, Kasari C.Autism Res. 2013 Dec;6(6):468-78. doi: 10.1002/aur.1329. Epub 2013 Oct 7.PMID: 24124067 Free PMC article. Review.
- Imitation (rather than core language) predicts pragmatic development in young children with ASD: a preliminary longitudinal study using CDI parental reports.Miniscalco C, Rudling M, Råstam M, Gillberg C, Johnels JÅ.Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2014 May-Jun;49(3):369-75. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12085. Epub 2014 Mar 31.PMID: 24684579
- The Social Communication Assessment for Toddlers with Autism (SCATA): an instrument to measure the frequency, form and function of communication in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder.Drew A, Baird G, Taylor E, Milne E, Charman T.J Autism Dev Disord. 2007 Apr;37(4):648-66. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0224-9.PMID: 17051443 Clinical Trial.
- Long-term effects of PECS on social-communicative skills of children with autism spectrum disorders: a follow-up study.Lerna A, Esposito D, Conson M, Massagli A.Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2014 Jul-Aug;49(4):478-85. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12079. Epub 2014 Mar 21.PMID: 24655345 Clinical Trial.
- Social-communicative abilities as treatment goals for preschool children with autism spectrum disorder: the importance of imitation, joint attention, and play.Warreyn P, van der Paelt S, Roeyers H.Dev Med Child Neurol. 2014 Aug;56(8):712-6. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12455. Epub 2014 Apr 9.PMID: 24713028 Review.