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Which words are hard for autistic children to learn?

Schafer, G., Williams, T. and Smith, P. (2013) Which words are hard for autistic children to learn? Mind and Language, 28 (5). pp. 661-698. ISSN 1468-0017

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/mila.12038

Abstract/Summary

Motivated by accounts of concept use in autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and a computational model of weak central coherence (O’Loughlin & Thagard, 2000) we examined comprehension and production vocabulary in typically-developing children, and those with ASD and Down syndrome (DS). Controlling for frequency, familiarity, length, and imageability, Colorado Meaningfulness played a hitherto unremarked role in the vocabularies of children with ASD. High Colorado Meaningful words were underrepresented in the comprehension vocabularies of 2- to 12-year-olds with ASD. The Colorado Meaningfulness of a word is a measure of how many words can be associated with it. Situations in which high Colorado Meaningfulness words are encountered are typically highly variable, and words with High Colorado Meaningfulness often involve extensive use of context. Our data suggest that the number of contexts in which a particular word can appear has a role in determining vocabulary in ASD. This suggestion is consistent with the weak central coherence theory of autism.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Development
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
ID Code:31210
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell

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