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Parents key in new measure to evaluate language in children with autism
Date:6/10/2009

thers information they might need. The pragmatics of language can be an area of great difficulty for children with autism."

Difficulty with learning language and communicating with others is often one of the first things that parents become concerned about. Parents have much valuable information to offer about their child's language use to professionals evaluating their child. "A parent has had the most experience watching their child try to use their language in a host of different settings and with many different people."

The LUI provides speech-language pathologists and researchers with a new tool to evaluate a young child's broad pragmatic use of language. As many as 14 per cent of preschool-age children in Canada and the U.S. may be at risk for language disorders.

The LUI is the product of more than eight years of research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The development of the inventory included a large-scale study in which more than 3,500 parents from across Canada completed the questionnaire describing their child's language ability.

"This study will help us understand unexplored ways of identifying language skills in children with autism," says Dr. Michael Kramer, Scientific Director at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "Our support for the development of the Language Use Inventory helps keep us on the forefront of research on autism in young children. This research will also provide unprecedented insight into language acquisition in typically-developing Canadian children as well as those with communication disorders and other disabilities," said Dr. Kramer.

"The tremendous response we had from parents all across Canada has allowed us to provide norms for the LUI at every month from 18 to 47 months of age," O'Neill said. "We were amazed by how eager so many parents were to take part. I think the issue of how children learn language is just as fascinating to parents as to researchers
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Contact: David Coulombe
mediarelations@cihr-irsc.gc.ca
613-941-4563
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Source:Eurekalert

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