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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 394–405 | Cite as

A Multidimensional Reappraisal of Language in Autism: Insights from a Discourse Analytic Study

  • Laura Sterponi
  • Kenton de Kirby
S.I. : Discourse and conversation analytic approaches to the study of ASD

Abstract

In this article, we leverage theoretical insights and methodological guidelines of discourse analytic scholarship to re-examine language phenomena typically associated with autism. Through empirical analysis of the verbal behavior of three children with autism, we engage the question of how prototypical features of autistic language—notably pronoun atypicality, pragmatic deficit, and echolalia—might conceal competencies and interactional processes that are largely invisible in mainstream research. Our findings offer a complex picture of children with autism in their use of language to communicate, interact and experience others. Such a picture also deepens our understanding of the interactional underpinnings of autistic children’s speech. Finally, we describe how our findings offer fruitful suggestions for clinical intervention.

Keywords

Autism Language Discourse analysis Conversation analysis Echolalia Pronoun reversal and avoidance Pragmatic deficit 

Notes

Author Contributions

Laura Sterponi is responsible for the study design and the data collection. Both authors have made substantial contributions to the analysis and interpretation of the data, have been involved in drafting the manuscript, and have given final approval of the version to be published.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Human DevelopmentUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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