Memory and communication in typically developing infants and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder : Behavioral and electrophysiological indices

Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how variations in early memory capacity seems, both in children with typical development in children with autism. More specifically, variations in early memory is examined here over time, and its relationship to early (verbal and non-verbal) communication skills. Furthermore, also investigated whether one can say anything about these early variations based on brain responses to associative learning memory. The results show a relationship between memory and associative learning and receptive language. In addition, there was a relation between the children remember when they are 9 months and after 16 months, and even their receptive language (vocabulary), indicating a stability of these variations. There was also a relationship between memory capacity at the age of 9 months and productive language at 16 months of age. Furthermore, when comparing children with autism and typically developing children and children with Down syndrome, it was found that there were no differences in spontaneous imitation but for imitation on call and after a delay, they differ from the other groups. When account is taken of the children with Autism linguistic abilities, it turns out that it is the non-verbal children that differ from control groups, while the verbal children with autism perform at the same level as the comparison groups. For typically developing children there was a relationship between spontaneous imitation and elicited imitation. The results of the studies in this thesis discussed based on developmental theories and their implications for future studies.