• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

HSE Researchers Compare Expressive and Receptive Language Abilities of Russian-speaking Children with ASD for the First Time

HSE Researchers Compare Expressive and Receptive Language Abilities of Russian-speaking Children with ASD for the First Time

© iStock

Researchers from the HSE Centre for Language and Brain and their Russian and American colleagues have become the first to compare expressive and receptive language abilities of Russian children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at different linguistic levels. Their work helped them refute the hypothesis that children with ASD understand spoken language less well than they produce it. The study was published in Research in Developmental Disabilities.

Almost 75% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have language impairment, although it is not a diagnostic criterion of ASD. The studies, however, disagree on the difference in the degree of impairment between expressive and receptive language in ASD.

Some researchers have argued that expressive language is more intact in children with ASD than receptive language, and some consider the expressive-better-than-receptive pattern in language to be a unique hallmark of ASD.

Researchers from the HSE Centre for Language and Brain, the Federal Resource Centre for ASD (Moscow State University of Psychology and Education), and Haskins Laboratories (New Haven, United States) decided to check this hypothesis. They tested 82 Russian-speaking children with ASD and compared expressive and receptive language at different linguistic levels within the same group. The scientists used the RuCLAB (Russian Child Language Assessment Battery), which was developed at the HSE Centre for Language and Brain.

The comparison was conducted at three levels: vocabulary (word production and comprehension), morphosyntax (sentence production and comprehension), and discourse (text production and comprehension).

The analysis shows that there is no a single expressive-receptive language pattern in children with ASD. For example, it is impossible to say that expressive domain is more intact than receptive. Furthermore, the results show that the difference in expressive and receptive language depends on the linguistic level: single-word production was more affected than single-word recognition in children with ASD, sentence production and comprehension were equally affected, and production of texts was more intact than the comprehension of texts.

‘For us, it was important not only to describe the difference between expressive and receptive language at different linguistic levels in children with ASD, but also to understand whether the level of a child’s non-verbal intelligence affects these patterns,’ said Vardan Arutiunian, author of the paper and a junior research fellow at the HSE Centre for Language and Brain.

In order to understand whether non-verbal intelligence (IQ) affects the difference between receptive and expressive language at different linguistic levels, the children with ASD were divided into two groups. One group included children without intellectual disabilities (non-verbal IQ at normal range), and the other included children with intellectual disabilities (non-verbal IQ lower than the normal range). Word, sentence and text production and comprehension were then compared between the two groups separately.

The results of the study show that non-verbal IQ partially impacted expressive and receptive language patterns.

No difference between the two groups was observed at the vocabulary level: in both groups, single-word production was more impaired than single-word comprehension.

The researchers did observe a difference between the two groups at the morphosyntax level: in children without intellectual disabilities, sentence production and comprehension were equally affected, while in children with intellectual disabilities, sentence comprehension was more intact than sentence production.

A difference in expressive and receptive patterns between the two groups was also observed at the discourse level. Children without intellectual disabilities displayed no difference between expressive and receptive domains, while text production in children with intellectual disabilities was more intact than comprehension.

Vardan Arutiunian

Vardan Arutiunian, Junior Research Rellow at the HSE Centre for Language and Brain

The difference between word, sentence and text production and comprehension partially depends on non-verbal intelligence. But it is still too early to talk about any ASD-specific patterns. There are still only a few papers that systematically compare expressive and receptive language at different linguistic levels while taking non-verbal IQ levels into account. Our study is one of the first of its kind, and we will continue our work using neuroimaging methods such as magnetoencephalography, electroencephalography, and magnetic resonance imaging.

The researchers believe that understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of expressive and receptive language in children with ASD will help with the objective diagnosis of language impairments, as well as with speech therapy and rehabilitation.

See also:

Pivot to the East: A Comprehensive Study of the Cultural and Civilisational Centres of the Non-Western World is the Top Priority

China and the Chinese world, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arab countries, Iran, Turkey, Central Asia and Africa are gaining new significance in Russia’s foreign policy. However, we do not know enough about the Eastern countries. It is necessary to change the priorities in education, starting from grammar school. Prospects for the development of domestic Oriental studies in the context of the new stage in the development of the system of international relations were discussed at a round table at HSE University.

‘I Admire HSE Students’ Eagerness to Learn, to Discuss, to Broaden Their Perspectives’

Robert Romanowski was a ‘Digital Professor’ at HSE University in November 2021. In his interview for the HSE News Service, he talked about the specifics of online teaching, his course on Strategic Branding, and the skills that are essential for marketing professionals today.

Russia and Africa: Time to Expand Cooperation

There is major potential for economic and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and African countries. Particularly, Russian organisations and universities can help transfer competencies and knowledge in the fields of agriculture, energy, industrial production, environmental management, climate change, and public administration. Experts and representatives of African embassies in Russia discussed these issues at the round table ‘Russia-Africa Sharing Knowledge’ hosted by HSE University.

The Brain in Space: Investigating the Effects of Long Spaceflights on Space Travellers

As part of an international project conducted with the participation of Roscosmos and the European Space Agency, a team of researchers used differential tractography to analyse dMRI scans ofcosmonauts’ brains and found significant changes in brain connectivity, with some of the changes persisting after seven months back on Earth. The paper is published in Frontiers in Neural Circuits.

HSE University-Perm and the Training Centre of the Uzbek Ministry of Finance Sign Cooperation Agreement

HSE University in Perm has become the first academic partner of the Training Centre under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The parties have signed a cooperation agreement in education and research. 

HSE University Strengthens Ties with Netherlands in Agricultural Research and Education

On November 9, 2021, HSE University signed a memorandum of understanding with Wageningen University & Research, a major university in the Netherlands and one of the leading agricultural research institutes in the world. Participants of the signing ceremony included HSE University Rector Nikita Anisimov, President of the Wageningen University & Research Executive Board Professor Louise Fresco, and Dutch Ambassador to Russia Gilles Beschoor Plug.

The Majority of Russians Do Not Support Microchip Implants

The majority of Russians would not agree to being fitted with microchip implants for any purposes—medical or otherwise. A joint study conducted by HSE University’s International Laboratory for Applied Network Research and Aventica found that respondents believe the risks of personal data leaks and misuse to be too high.

‘We Can Now Say That the Finance Conference Is Global’

The 10th International Moscow Finance Conference, organized by HSE ICEF, took place on October 29–30 online. Vladimir Sokolov, Head of the International Laboratory of Financial Economics, which hosted the conference, talks about the participants, the key presentation topics and how they will impact the global economy.

HSE University Scholars Study Green Transition Risks and Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulation

The UN Climate Change Conference is taking place from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow. The conference focuses on preventive measures against the catastrophic and irreversible consequences of rising average global air temperatures. Igor Makarov, Head of the HSE Laboratory for Economics of Climate Change, will be taking part in the Glasgow conference. In the following interview, he speaks about the pressing problems Russia and the world are facing, and the research HSE scholars are doing on climate change.

Applications to Speak at eSTARS 2021 Conference Accepted Until November 15

HSE University and Coursera are bringing together the world’s leading researchers, professionals, education and technology leaders, and business community representatives for the fourth international research conference eLearning Stakeholders and Researchers Summit 2021 (eSTARS). This topic of this year’s summit, which will run from December 1–2, 2021,is ‘Digital Transformation: Global Challenges to the Education System’.