by Chris Kelaher
In recent decades the number of children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased substantially. While the reason(s) for this increase and the best course of action are still in debate, there has been a considerable increase in public awareness of the condition, thanks in part to organizations such as Autism Speaks and the Autism Society, as well as institutions such as Autism Awareness Month.
Social interaction deficit and language impairment are common characteristics of ASD. But the precise nature of this disorder’s impact on language development is not well understood. Innovative Investigations of Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder, a recent release from APA Books that is part of the Language and Human Lifespan Series, a collaboration between APA Books and DeGruyter Mouton, will help psychologists, linguists, sociologists, and neuroscientists better understand the complicated relationship between autism and language.
Led by developmental psychologist Letitia R. Naigles of the University of Connecticut, contributors to Innovative Investigations come from a range of fields. Examining both spoken and written domains of communication, they employ innovative techniques to explore the language-ASD relationship. Is the variability of language development and use seen in children with ASD the function of a specific language, so that some linguistic domains are more vulnerable to ASD than others? Or is the variability a function of the individual, such that some characteristics predispose those with ASD to have varying levels of difficulty with language? Naigles and her colleagues provide detailed information about language development, processing, and production among children diagnosed with ASD.
APA Books is no stranger to this topic. Related titles include 2014’s Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Evidence-Based Assessment and Intervention in Schools (edited by Lee Wilkinson) and V. Mark Durand’s Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Clinical Guide for General Practitioners (2014).
APA Videos on the topic include 2006’s Autism Spectrum Disorders, in which Dr. James A. Mulick demonstrates his approach to counseling children with autism and related disorders, such as Asperger’s. More recently, in 2015, APA Videos produced Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in which Durand (University of South Florida St. Petersburg) demonstrates his positive parenting approach to working with mothers and fathers of children who have been diagnosed with ASD.