Studies have shown that parent language input influences child communication, but less is known about how child characteristics impact the language that parents use. In this study, the researchers analyzed play interactions over time between parents and their toddlers with high- and low-risk of being diagnosed with autism. They found that parent’s responsiveness, complexity of language, and variety of words used when children were 18 months old predicted child language at 24 months of age across both groups. Children’s language skills at 18 months were associated with parent’s complexity of language at 24 months for the high-risk group but not the low-risk group. They also found that parents of high-risk children used less complex language than parents of low-risk children when children were 18- and 24 months old. This suggests that there may be a reciprocal relationship between parent and child language. However, further research is necessary to determine a causal relationship.

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