Objectives: We investigate the degree to which parental report of children’s grammatical usage on the Vineland ‘matches’ those children’s production in spontaneous speech.
Methods: Eleven ASD children (MA=31.23 months) were assessed every four months for two years. HFA (n = 5) children had Mullen scores in the normal range at visit 1; MFA (n = 6) children produced the target grammatical items but had Mullen scores at least 1.5 SD below the normal range at visit 1. At each visit, the children participated in a 30-minute semi-structured play session with their parent. All speech was transcribed and coded for types and tokens of Wh-questions, progressive and regular past verb inflections, and negation. At each visit, the Vineland was also administered, and coded for parental report of the child producing what/where, who/why, and when questions, verbs ending in “-ing” and “-ed”, and negatives in sentences. Data were analyzed into three categories: Vineland and Speech at same levels, Vineland more advanced than Speech, and Vineland less advanced than Speech.
Results: Chi-squares were performed across visits for each group separately, and combining visits to compare groups. For negation, 88-90% of Vineland-Speech comparisons were at the same level, and this did not differ across visits nor across subgroups. In contrast, for wh-questions, only 46% of Vineland-Speech comparisons were at the same level; 34% showed Vineland more advanced than Speech and 20% showed Speech more advanced than Vineland. Moreover, this distribution varied significantly by subgroup (X2 (2) = 14.13, p < .001), with more Speech-more-advanced-than-Vineland children in the MFA group. For both verb inflections, 71% of Vineland-Speech comparisons were at the same level, 11% showed Vineland more advanced than Speech, and 18% showed Speech more advanced than Vineland. This distribution varied significantly by subgroup for the progressive inflection, (X2 (2) = 10.5, p< .05), but not for the regular past. Again, more children in the MFA group produced progressive inflections in Speech than were reported to do so by their parents.
Conclusions: Parental report in the Vineland varies in how consistently it captures children with ASDs’ production of grammatical items. Production of negation use was highly accurate; however, production of progressive inflections, and especially wh-questions, was under-rated, particularly with children in the middle range of language use.
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