Toddlers’ Attention to ‘Motherese’ Speech May Be Used to Diagnose Autism
[Source: Science Daily]
We all do it: that high-pitched, sing-songy voice that spills out of your mouth whenever a baby is around. Caregivers have long used this playful, emotional, exaggerated form of speech — called “motherese” — to capture their children’s attention. Now, scientists may be able to use it to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
In a study published February 8, 2023 in JAMA Network Open, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have developed a new eye-tracking test to quantify toddlers’ level of attention to motherese. Using these measurements, the scientists were able to reliably identify a subset of toddlers with ASD, whose low levels of attention to motherese were also associated with weaker social and language abilities.
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