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Language Comprehension and Cognitive Disorder in Autism

  • Catherine Lord
Part of the Springer Series in Cognitive Development book series (SSCOG)

Abstract

Recently, the particular practical and theoretical significance of deficits in language comprehension to the syndrome(s) of autism has become recognized. Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder occurring with or without mental retardation and defined by extreme social deficits, delayed development and bizarre use of language, and unusual sensory responses, with onset before 30 months of age (American Psychiatric Association, 1980). Difficulties in expressive language constitute one of the most noticeable characteristics of autism and are the earliest and greatest source of concern for many parents (DeMyer, 1979). Nevertheless, only in the last ten years has language comprehension been studied directly (Bartak, Rutter, & Cox, 1975). As a result, autism is now typically characterized as including a general delay in the acquisition of almost all language skills, though not always in speech skills such as articulation (Rutter, 1978a). However, since other disorders (e.g., mental retardation, receptive language delay) also involve general language delay, factors that differentiate autism from related disorders have particular theoretical importance. Deficits in language comprehension and use may be necessary and, if not specific, at least more specific, to the differential diagnosis of autism than are problems in other areas of language development (Cantwell, Baker, & Rutter, 1978).

Keywords

Pervasive Developmental Disorder Language Comprehension Cognitive Disorder Sentence Comprehension Social Meaning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Lord

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