Speech Abnormalities Associated with ASD in Children with Vision Impairment

Poster Presentation
Friday, May 3, 2019: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)
Z. Nir and C. Shulman, The School of Social Work, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Vision impairment affects child development, including social communication development (Vann et al., 2015; Hobson, 2005). Research reveals an overlap between the profiles of social behaviors in children with vision impairment and those characteristic of children with ASD (Do et al, 2017(. In addition, speech abnormalities such as echolalia, repetitive and stereotype use of language and part of the
"autistic- like" features that are common in children with vision impairment.


The main purpose of this research was to characterize developmental profiles of pre-school children with vision impairment. Another objective was to observe the prevalence of unique speech patterns and speech abnormalities in this group.


Thirty-two pre-school children participated this research. They were three to six years old, and all had a diagnosis of significant visual impairment. All of the children were recognized by the ministry of Education as vision impaired and received educational aid by an expert in vision education. The level of vision impairment varied from moderate to blind.
All the children in this research had a compressive psychological evaluation. The evaluation included both developmental evaluation tools that are common at the general population and special designed tools for children with vision impairment. To assess general development level the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL) and the Reynell-Zinkin scales (RZS) were used. Adaptive behavior skills were measured by Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, third edition (Vineland-3) and communication and social skills were assed with the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS2) and the Visual Impairment and Social Communication Schedule (VISS) (Absoud, Parr, Salt & Dale, 2011).


Children with vision impairment show a variety of Speech abnormalities such as echolalia, repetitive and stereotype use of language. Those abnormalities occurred in all levels of development in children with vision impairment.


The fact that speech abnormalities are common in visually impaired children regardless of the developmental level or the severity of the visual impairment suggests that the use of repetitive language may be an adaptive behavior rather than an abnormal one. This findings require a further research.