Carrie Larson, Ph.D. CCC-SLP Postdoctoral Fellow, CT Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Connecticut

Thursday, April 14, 2022 - 12:30pm

This talk will be by remote access only:  (All are welcome)

Structural language impairment in ASD versus LAD: Behavioral and neural characteristics

This study probed for structural language impairment using behavioral and functional neuroimaging methods in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and those diagnosed with ASD in childhood who no longer meet criteria for ASD, referred to as Loss of Autism Diagnosis (LAD). Participants were: ASD (n = 35), LAD (n = 31), and Neurotypical (NT; n = 34). Criteria for structural language impairment were: Scores ≤82 on Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-4 (CELF) Core Language, an omnibus measure of language; and scores ≤7 on CELF Recalling Sentences, a clinical marker of structural language impairment. Task-based fMRI examined lateralization of significantly activated language-related brain regions in groups with structural language impairment (LI) versus normal-range language (LN), collapsed across ASD, LAD, and NT status. Results showed no ASD versus LAD group differences in the proportion of participants with structural language impairment according to either metric (Recalling Sentences or Core Language). Functional MRI results indicated greater left hemisphere lateralization within significantly activated regions in the LI group. Structural language abilities were not meaningfully associated with either social abilities or lifetime ADHD symptoms in LI subgroups, further suggesting the presence of structural language impairment. Findings indicate the presence of persistent structural language difficulty even in the absence of ASD symptoms in some individuals within the LAD group and unique patterns of language-related neural specialization for language function in LI relative to LN.  
Remote access:  (All are welcome)