Brief Report: Acoustic Evidence for Increased Articulatory Stability in the Speech of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

Subjective impressions of speech delivery in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as monotonic or over-precise are widespread but still lack robust acoustic evidence. This study provides a detailed acoustic characterization of the specificities of speech in individuals with ASD using an extensive sample of speech data, from the production of narratives and from spontaneous conversation. Syllable-level analyses (30,843 tokens in total) were performed on audio recordings from two sub-tasks of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule from 20 adults with ASD and 20 pairwise matched neuro-typical adults, providing acoustic measures of fundamental frequency, jitter, shimmer and the first three formants. The results suggest that participants with ASD display a greater articulatory stability in vowel production than neuro-typical participants, both in phonation and articulatory gestures.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    V = vowel, C = consonant.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the acting editor and three anonymous reviewers for very useful comments on previous versions of this paper. The present research has been made possible thanks to the F.R.S.-FNRS Research Incentive Grant F.4502.15 to Mikhail Kissine and a Foundation Jean-François Peterbroeck doctoral grant to Philippine Geelhand. This generous support is acknowledged. We thank all our participants and their families for their time and willingness to take part in our study.

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Correspondence to Mikhail Kissine.

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All authors declare no conflict of interest.

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All procedures in this study were approved by the ethics committee of Erasme Hospital in accordance with the 1964 declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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All adult participants provided informed consent. Adolescent participants provided informed assent with their parents providing informed consent.

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Kissine, M., Geelhand, P. Brief Report: Acoustic Evidence for Increased Articulatory Stability in the Speech of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 49, 2572–2580 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-03905-5

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Prosody
  • Acoustics
  • Voice quality
  • F0
  • Formants
  • Jitter
  • Shimmer