The Use of Grammatical Morphemes by Mandarin-Speaking Children with High Functioning Autism
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The present study investigated the production of grammatical morphemes by Mandarin-speaking children with high functioning autism. Previous research found that a subgroup of English-speaking children with autism exhibit deficits in the use of grammatical morphemes that mark tense. In order to see whether this impairment in grammatical morphology can be generalised to children with autism from other languages, the present study examined whether or not high-functioning Mandarin-speaking children with autism also exhibit deficits in using grammatical morphemes that mark aspect. The results show that Mandarin-speaking children with autism produced grammatical morphemes significantly less often than age-matched and IQ-matched TD peers as well as MLU-matched TD peers. The implications of these findings for understanding the grammatical abilities of children with autism were discussed.
KeywordsAutism Grammatical morphology Temporal processing Event structure Language development
This research was supported by a Macquarie University Research Fellowship to the first author and also the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CE110001021). The authors are grateful to Dr. Joshua John Diehl and three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions on an earlier version of the paper. The authors would also like to thank the children and the teachers at the Rehabilitation and Education Centre for Children with Autism affiliated with the Peking University Sixth Hospital, Beijing, China, for their assistance and support in running the experiments.
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