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Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 7/2015

01-07-2015 | Original Paper

The Use of Sign Language Pronouns by Native-Signing Children with Autism

Auteurs: Aaron Shield, Richard P. Meier, Helen Tager-Flusberg

Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders | Uitgave 7/2015

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Abstract

We report the first study on pronoun use by an under-studied research population, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exposed to American Sign Language from birth by their deaf parents. Personal pronouns cause difficulties for hearing children with ASD, who sometimes reverse or avoid them. Unlike speech pronouns, sign pronouns are indexical points to self and other. Despite this transparency, we find evidence from an elicitation task and parental report that signing children with ASD avoid sign pronouns in favor of names. An analysis of spontaneous usage showed that all children demonstrated the ability to point, but only children with better-developed sign language produced pronouns. Differences in language abilities and self-representation may explain these phenomena in sign and speech.
Bijlagen
Alleen toegankelijk voor geautoriseerde gebruikers
Voetnoten
1
Exceptions are the ASL signs we and our (Meier 1990).
 
2
As is conventional, we denote ASL signs with their English translations in small caps.
 
3
The linguistic status of personal pronouns in ASL and other signed languages has been a matter of continuing controversy (Cormier et al. 2013; McBurney 2002; Meier 1990; Meier and Lillo-Martin 2010). However, ASL unequivocally has points to self and points to addressee; for the purpose of this paper we label these points as first- and second-person pronouns.
 
4
Signed English is a system of manual signs that follows English grammar and thus is not considered an independent language.
 
5
We use non-parametric tests throughout this paper because assumptions of normality are violated.
 
6
We use Cohen’s d as a measure of effect size when comparing two means; a value greater than 0.8 typically represents a large effect.
 
7
A sign that functions as a unique name for a person, often invented by Deaf parents (Supalla 1992).
 
8
We also analyzed whether the group differences were significant in terms of who responded with names and who did not (rather than who produced pronouns and who did not), since some children produced both in their answer. The group difference was again significant under this criterion for both the first-person task (Fisher’s Exact Test, p < .05, one-tailed) and the second-person task (Fisher’s Exact Test, p < .0001, one-tailed).
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
The Use of Sign Language Pronouns by Native-Signing Children with Autism
Auteurs
Aaron Shield
Richard P. Meier
Helen Tager-Flusberg
Publicatiedatum
01-07-2015
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders / Uitgave 7/2015
Print ISSN: 0162-3257
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-3432
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2377-x