The Use of Two Language Tests to Identify Pragmatic Language Problems in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Purpose: Pragmatic language disorders (PLDs) are difficult to diagnose in a cost-effective manner, and there are few assessment tools that yield quantitative data. This investigation was designed to determine whether two formal assessment tools would differentiate PLDs in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) from controls matched on verbal IQ ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2005
The Use of Two Language Tests to Identify Pragmatic Language Problems in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Edna Carter Young
    University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY
    University of Rochester Medical Center, Box 627, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14642
  • Joshua J. Diehl
    University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
  • Danielle Morris
    University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY
  • Susan L. Hyman
    University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY
  • Loisa Bennetto
    University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2005
The Use of Two Language Tests to Identify Pragmatic Language Problems in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2005, Vol. 36, 62-72. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2005/006)
History: Received March 16, 2003 , Revised August 18, 2003 , Accepted April 23, 2004
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2005, Vol. 36, 62-72. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2005/006)
History: Received March 16, 2003; Revised August 18, 2003; Accepted April 23, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 52

Purpose: Pragmatic language disorders (PLDs) are difficult to diagnose in a cost-effective manner, and there are few assessment tools that yield quantitative data. This investigation was designed to determine whether two formal assessment tools would differentiate PLDs in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) from controls matched on verbal IQ and language fundamentals.

Method: Thirty-four matched participants were given the Test of Pragmatic Language (TOPL; D. Phelps-Terasaki & T. Phelps-Gunn, 1992) and the Strong Narrative Assessment Procedure (SNAP; C. J. Strong, 1998).

Results: Participants with ASDs had significantly poorer scores than controls on the TOPL. On the SNAP, the children with ASDs performed similarly to controls on syntax, cohesion, story grammar, and completeness of episodes. The controls performed significantly better only on the ability to answer inferential questions.

Clinical Implications: The TOPL was effective in differentiating PLDs in children with ASDs when performance was compared to matched controls. The SNAP did not clearly differentiate language problems in these two groups. Research is needed to develop formal assessment tools that target the unique language disabilities of high-functioning individuals with ASDs.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank the parents and children who participated in this investigation. This research was supported by National Institutes of Health PO1HD35466 Grant, a Collaborative Program of Excellence in Autism.
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