Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 115–125 | Cite as

Conversational Behaviors in Youth with High-functioning ASD and Asperger Syndrome

  • Rhea Paul
  • Stephanie Miles Orlovski
  • Hillary Chuba Marcinko
  • Fred Volkmar
Original Paper


Twenty-nine youth with autism spectrum disorders and 26 with typical development between 12 and 18 years of age were engaged in structured interviews (ADOS). The interviews were videotaped and rated for atypical conversational behaviors by trained raters, using the Pragmatic Rating Scale (Landa et al. Psychol Med 22:245–254, 1992). The ASD group was divided into AS and HFA/PDD-NOS subgroups. Significant differences were found among groups on approximately one-third of the PRS items. These items involved primarily the management of topics and information, reciprocity, intonation, and gaze management. The only differences to reach significance between the AS and HFA/PDD-NOS group were a greater tendency for overly formal speech on the part of the AS group, and more difficulty with gaze management on the part of the group with HFA/PDD-NOS. The implications of these findings for understanding and treating conversational deficits in ASD are discussed.


Autism Asperger syndrome Pragmatics Conversation 



Preparation of this paper was supported by Research Grant P01-03008 funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); by NIH Research Grant U54 MH66494 funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; by Research Grant RO1 DC07129 from the NIDCD; by a MidCareer Development grant to Dr. Paul, K24 HD045576 funded by NIDCD; as well as by the National Alliance for Autism Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rhea Paul
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephanie Miles Orlovski
    • 2
  • Hillary Chuba Marcinko
    • 2
  • Fred Volkmar
    • 2
  1. 1.Southern Connecticut State UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Yale Child Study CenterNew HavenUSA

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