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Journal Article

Early socio-communicative forms and functions in typical Rett syndrome


Grossmann,  Tobias
Max Planck Research Group Early Social Development, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Bartl-Pokorny, K. D., Marschik, P. B., Sigafoos, J., Tager-Flusberg, H., Kaufmann, W. E., Grossmann, T., et al. (2013). Early socio-communicative forms and functions in typical Rett syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34(10), 3133-3138. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2013.06.040.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-4AA0-2
Rett syndrome (RTT) is a severe neurological disorder characterized by a developmental regression in motor and speech-language domains. There is, however, limited research on socio-communicative development of affected children before the onset of regression. We analyzed audio–video recordings made by parents of six 9- to 12-month old girls later diagnosed with typical RTT, applying the Inventory of Potential Communicative Acts (IPCA) to identify early communicative forms and functions. Each girl used at least one communicative form (e.g., body movement, eye gaze, or vocalizations) to gain attention and answer, but none were observed to make choices or request information. Varying numbers of children were observed to perform other communicative functions according to the IPCA including social convention, rejecting or requesting an object. Non-verbal forms (e.g., reaching, moving closer, eye contact, smiling) were more common than non-linguistic verbal forms (e.g., unspecified vocalizations, pleasure vocalizations, crying). (Pre-)linguistic verbal forms (e.g., canonical or variegated babbling, proto-words) were not used for communicative purposes. These data suggest that atypical developmental patterns in the socio-communicative domain are evident prior to regression in young individuals later diagnosed with RTT.