Personal pronoun usage in maternal input to infants at high vs. low risk for autism spectrum disorder

Angela Xiaoxue He*, Rhiannon Luyster, Sung Ju Hong, Sudha Arunachalam

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are prone to personal pronoun difficulties. This article investigates maternal input as a potential contributing factor, focusing on an early developmental stage before ASD diagnosis. Using Quigley and McNally’s corpus of maternal speech to infants (3–19 months; N = 19) who are either at high or low risk for a diagnosis of ASD, the study asked whether mothers used fewer pronouns with high-risk infants. Indeed, high-risk infants heard fewer second-person pronouns relative to their names than low-risk infants. The study further investigated the contexts in which mothers used infants’ names. The results indicated that mothers of high-risk infants often used the infants’ names simply to get their attention by calling them. This finding suggests that high-risk infants may thus hear relatively fewer pronouns because their mothers spend more time trying to get their attention. This may be related to differences in social-communicative behavior between low-risk and high-risk infants.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)520-537
    Number of pages18
    JournalFirst Language
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Autism spectrum disorder
    • infants at-risk for autism
    • language development
    • parental input
    • pronoun


    Dive into the research topics of 'Personal pronoun usage in maternal input to infants at high vs. low risk for autism spectrum disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this