Examination of Joint Attention and Oromotor Imitation in Young Children Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
Creator
  • Dalton, Jennifer C.
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Allied Health Sciences, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Abstract
  • Purpose: This study examined the relationship between joint attention ability and oromotor imitation skill in three groups of young children using both nonverbal oral and verbal motor imitation tasks. Research questions addressed a) differences among joint attention and oromotor imitation abilities; b) the relationship between independently measured joint attention and oromotor imitation, both nonverbal oral and verbal motor; c) the relationship between concurrent joint attention and verbal motor imitation during interpersonal interaction; and d) the relationship between the sensory input demands (auditory, visual, and tactile) and oromotor imitation, both nonverbal oral and verbal motor. Method: A descriptive, nonexperimental design (Johnson & Christensen, 2000) was used to compare joint attention and oromotor skills of 3 groups of preschool-aged children: a group of 10 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a group of 6 children who were typically developing (TD), and a group of 6 children with suspected Childhood Apraxia of Speech (sCAS) or apraxic-like symptoms. Results: Concurrent joint attention, but not independently measured joint attention, and total verbal motor imitation were strong predictors of group membership. Children with ASD demonstrated a significantly lower group mean on the measure of concurrent joint attention as compared to typically developing children and children with suspected CAS. On nonverbal oral tasks, the highest group means were in the tactile (auditory + visual + tactile) modality while the lowest group means were in the auditory modality (auditory only). Children with suspected CAS demonstrated a significantly lower group mean on the measure of verbal motor imitation as compared to typically developing children. Although not significant, other predicted patterns of abilities across groups of children were observed. Conclusions: The current study results indicate that children with ASD had difficulties with both social and cognitive demands of oromotor imitation within a natural environment that demanded cross-modal processing of incoming stimuli within an interpersonal interaction. Patterns of joint attention ability and oromotor imitation skill generally supported the hypotheses of group differences. Further research is needed to determine whether these findings will generalize more broadly.
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  • In Copyright
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  • ... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Allied Health Sciences (Speech and Hearing Sciences).
Advisor
  • Crais, Elizabeth
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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