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Collaborative competence in dialogue: pragmatic language impairment as a window onto the psychopathology of autism

Larkin, Fionnuala ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3838-9165, Hobson, Jessica Anne, Hobson, R Peter and Tolmie, Andrew (2017) Collaborative competence in dialogue: pragmatic language impairment as a window onto the psychopathology of autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 43-44. pp. 27-39.

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Background: Pragmatic language, including conversational ability, can be difficult for people with autism. Difficulties with dialogue may reflect impairment in interpersonal engagement more than general language ability. Method: We investigated conversational abilities among children and adolescents with and without autism (n=18 per group) matched for language proficiency and productivity. Videotaped conversations from the Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedule (ADOS, Lord, Rutter, DiLavore & Risi, 2001) were rated according to the Collaborative Competence in Dialogue (CCD) scale featuring six verbal and non-verbal ‘cues’ that conversational partners use to sustain dialogue. Results: Participants with autism produced significantly fewer ‘typical’ communicative cues and more cues rated as intermittent or rote/stereotyped, even when non-verbal items (gaze) were removed from consideration. Within the autism group, competence in dialogue was not correlated with ‘general’ language ability, but was correlated with a measure of pragmatic ability. Conclusions: Difficulties with collaboration in dialogue may mirror the intermittent or incomplete interpersonal engagement of children with autism. Implications: Assessment of language ability in autism should include observation in unstructured social settings.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2017.09.004
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF636 Applied psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF712-724.85 Developmental psychology
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3883

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