Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 17–32 | Cite as

The Use of Linguistic Cues in Sentence Comprehension by Mandarin-Speaking Children with High-Functioning Autism

Original Paper


Two studies were conducted to investigate how high-functioning children with autism use different linguistic cues in sentence comprehension. Two types of linguistic cues were investigated: word order and morphosyntactic cues. The results show that children with autism can use both types of cues in sentence comprehension. However, compared to age-matched typically developing peers, children with autism relied significantly more on word order cues and exhibited significantly more difficulties in interpreting sentences in which there was a conflict between the morphosyntactic cue and the word order cue. We attribute the difficulties exhibited by children with autism to their deficits in executive function. We then discuss the implications of the findings for understanding the nature of the sentence processing mechanism in autism.


Autism Sentence comprehension Linguistic cues Word order Executive function Child language 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peng Zhou
    • 1
  • Stephen Crain
    • 2
  • Liqun Gao
    • 3
  • Meixiang Jia
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Foreign Languages and LiteraturesTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Beijing Language and Culture UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Peking University Sixth HospitalBeijingChina

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