No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Article19 Jun 2018

Infant–Mother Acoustic–Prosodic Alignment and Developmental Risk

    Purpose

    One promising early marker for autism and other communicative and language disorders is early infant speech production. Here we used daylong recordings of high- and low-risk infant–mother dyads to examine whether acoustic–prosodic alignment as well as two automated measures of infant vocalization are related to developmental risk status indexed via familial risk and developmental progress at 36 months of age.

    Method

    Automated analyses of the acoustics of daylong real-world interactions were used to examine whether pitch characteristics of one vocalization by the mother or the child predicted those of the vocalization response by the other speaker and whether other features of infants' speech in daylong recordings were associated with developmental risk status or outcomes.

    Results

    Low-risk and high-risk dyads did not differ in the level of acoustic–prosodic alignment, which was overall not significant. Further analyses revealed that acoustic–prosodic alignment did not predict infants' later developmental progress, which was, however, associated with two automated measures of infant vocalizations (daily vocalizations and conversational turns).

    Conclusions

    Although further research is needed, these findings suggest that automated measures of vocalizations drawn from daylong recordings are a possible early identification tool for later developmental progress/concerns.

    Supplemental Material

    https://osf.io/cdn3v/

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