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We report a study comparing the narrative abilities of 12 adults with high-functioning autism (HFA) or Asperger Syndrome (AS) versus 12 matched controls. The study focuses on the use of referential expressions (temporal expressions and anaphoric pronouns) during a story-telling task. The aim was to assess pragmatics skills in people with HFA/AS in whom linguistic impairments are more subtle than in classic autism. We predicted no significant differences in general narrative abilities between the two groups, but specific pragmatic deficits in people with AS. We predicted they use fewer personal pronouns, temporal expressions and referential expressions, which require theory of mind abilities. Results confirmed both predictions. These findings provide initial evidence of how social impairments can produce mild linguistic impairments.
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- Narrative Discourse in Adults with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome
Heather K. J. van der Lely
- Springer US