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Date of Graduation

5-12-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Advisor(s)

Geralyn Timler

Abstract

Some children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) initiate and respond less frequently than neurotypicals (NT) during language sampling tasks. More information is needed regarding how partner behaviors, such as comments and acknowledgements and the sampling context, influence the types of responses provided by children with ASD. This research study examined responses to adult comments and acknowledgments in two language sampling tasks, a traditional Share and Tell sample and a Double Interview sample (Garcia-Winner, 2002).

Participants. Fifty-eight participants, between the ages of 10 and 17 years, were recruited across two labs. The sample consisted of 28 adolescents with ASD (i.e., Lab A = 7; Lab B = 21) and 30 NT (i.e., Lab A = 10; Lab B = 20).

Methods. Lab A used the Share and Tell sampling protocol and Lab B used the Double Interview protocol. Samples were transcribed into the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts program. Research assistants, blind to participant group status, completed line-by-line searches to identify examiner comments and acknowledgements. Participant responses following these comments and acknowledgements were coded as one of 11 mutually exclusive response types.

Results. In the Share and Tell sample, the ASD group produced more statements that added new information following an examiner’s acknowledgement and produced a wider variety of response types than the NT group. In the Double Interview sample, the ASD group produced more nonverbal and topic continuation responses. The NT group produced more questions that changed the topic of conversation. The ASD group provided more unexpected or unconventional responses. Examiners from both sampling contexts produced more comments with the ASD than the NT groups. Both groups produced a wider diversity of response types (i.e., more questions) in the Double Interview than in the Share and Tell sample.

Discussion. The results revealed strengths of the ASD group that contradict previous research that children with ASD are less responsive than NT. This study provides important clinical implications for collecting different types of language samples and using commenting to ensure that sampling results are representative of children’s strengths as well as potential areas of weakness that may require intervention support.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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