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Pragmatic abilities of high-functioning Greek-speaking children with autism

Marinis, T., Terzi, A., Kotsopoulou, A. and Francis, K. (2013) Pragmatic abilities of high-functioning Greek-speaking children with autism. Psychologia, 20. pp. 321-337. ISSN 0033-2852

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This paper reports on the findings of the pragmatic abilities of Greek-speaking children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Twenty high functioning children with ASD and their typically developing age and vocabulary controls were administered a pragmatics task. The task was based on the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation (DELV) in the context of a larger study targeting the grammar of Greek-speaking children with autism, and assessed the children’s abilities in communicative role taking, narrative, and question asking. The children with ASD showed an uneven profile in their pragmatic abilities. The two groups did not differ in communicative role taking and question asking. However, the children with ASD had difficulties on the narrative task, and more specifically, on the items assessing reference contrast and temporal links. Yet, they performed similarly on the mental state representations and the false beliefs items. Despite their good performance on mental states and false beliefs, the ASD children’s lower performance on reference contrast can be interpreted via Theory of Mind deficits if we assume that the former involve an additional level of complexity; namely, quantifying the amount of information available to the listener. Lower performance on temporal links is in line with the ASD children’s attested difficulties in organizing events into a coherent gist. Their overall profile, and, in particular, the dissociation between the different sections of the task, does not support single deficit accounts. It rather indicates that the deficits of individuals with ASD stem from distinct deficits in core cognitive processes (Happé & Frith, 2006).

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:52379
Publisher:Department of Cognitive Psychology in Education (Kyoto University Research Studies in Education)

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