Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate if higher quantity, diversity, and grammatical informativeness of verb phrases in parent follow-in utterances (i.e., utterances that mapped onto child attentional leads) were significantly related to later expressive verb vocabulary in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Method: We examined these associations in a sample of 31 toddlers with ASD and their parents in a longitudinal correlational study. Key aspects of parents' verb input were measured in 2 video-recorded 15-min parent-child free-play sessions. Child expressive verb vocabulary was measured using parent report.
Results: An aggregate variable composed of the quantity, diversity, and grammatical informativeness of parent verb input in follow-in utterances across the 2 parent-child sessions strongly and positively predicted later child expressive verb vocabulary, total R-2 =.25, even when early child expressive verb vocabulary was controlled, R-2 change =.17. Parent follow-in utterances without verbs were not significantly related to later child expressive verb vocabulary, R-2 =.001.
Conclusions: These correlational findings are initial steps toward developing a knowledge base for how strong verb vocabulary skills might be facilitated in children with ASD.