Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Lauren B. Adamson

Second Advisor

Dr. Roger Bakeman

Third Advisor

Dr. Şeyda Özçalışkan


Examining responses to violations of communication may provide insight into children’s communicative competencies not apparent during reciprocal interactions. In this study, the caregivers of 18-month-old typically developing children, 30-month-old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 30-month-old children with Down syndrome followed our suggestion to playfully violate communication with their children in two contexts: requesting and social interacting. Caregivers of children with ASD made fewer bids and violations, which their children accepted less often than typically developing children; they also used instrumental behaviors more often when responding. Children with Down syndrome responded to their caregivers similarly to typically developing children, and used more high-level communicative behaviors in the requesting, versus social interacting, context. This study highlights the bidirectional nature of parent-child interactions, and suggests that violations of communication may serve as a “press” to elicit child behaviors not present during reciprocal communication.