Language delay and communication deficits are a core characteristic of the fragile X syndrome (FXS) phenotype. To date, the literature examining early language development in FXS is limited potentially due to barriers in language assessment in very young children. The present study is one of the first to examine early language development through vocal production and the language learning environment in infants and toddlers with FXS utilizing an automated vocal analysis system. Child vocalizations, conversational turns, and adult word counts in the home environment were collected and analyzed in a group of nine infants and toddlers with FXS and compared to a typically developing (TD) normative sample. Results suggest infants and toddlers with FXS are exhibiting deficits in their early language skills when compared to their chronological expectations. Despite this, when accounting for overall developmental level, their early language skills appear to be on track. Additionally, FXS caregivers utilize less vocalizations around infants and toddlers with FXS; however, additional research is needed to understand the true gap between FXS caregivers and TD caregivers. These findings provide preliminary information about the early language learning environment and support for the feasibility of utilizing an automated vocal analysis system within the FXS population that could ease data collection and further our understanding of the emergence of language development.
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