Audra Sterling, PhD – Slide of the Week

Audra Sterling, PhD - Slide of the Week

Title: Brief Report: Linguistic Mazes and Perseverations in School‑Age Boys with Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder and Relationships with Maternal Maze Use

Legend: Figure 1 Legend – a). Boys with idiopathic autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and boys with fragile X and co-occurring ASD (FXS+ASD) evidenced no differences in overall maze use. b). In contrast, boys with FXS+ASD used significantly more utterance-level and topic-level perseverations than boys with idiopathic ASD. Figure 2 Legend – Mother-child dyads in FXS families showed associations in maze use, whereby fewer maternal revisions were related to increased maze use in children (rs =-.52, p=.007). The same patterns were not observed in the ASD mother-child dyads (rs=.15, p =.491). This suggests that maze use may be associated with FMR1-related variability.

Citation: Maltman, N., Friedman, L., Lorang, E., & Sterling, A. (2021). Brief report: Linguistic mazes and perseverations in school‑age boys with fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorder and relationships with maternal maze use. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, doi: 10.1007/s10803-021-04981-2.

Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and fragile X syndrome (FXS) are neurodevelopmental disorders with overlapping pragmatic language impairments. Prior work suggests pragmatic language differences may run in families. This study examined specific pragmatic difficulties (i.e., linguistic mazes and perseverations) in boys (9–18 years) with idiopathic ASD (n = 26) and FXS+ASD (n = 29), and relationships with maternal maze use. Language samples were obtained separately for boys and mothers. Nonparametric analyses suggested that boys largely did not differ in their rates of mazes, but that boys with FXS+ASD exhibited more perseverations. Mazes were correlated between fragile X dyads. Maternal mazes were correlated with child perseverations among idiopathic ASD dyads. These findings have implications for the etiological significance of ASD-related language phenotypes.

About the Lab: Audra Sterling is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her research examines the contributions of both biology and environment in the development of language and cognition in children with developmental disabilities. Visit the Research in Developmental Disabilities Language Lab for more information:

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