Cohesive discourse in pervasive developmental disorders
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Investigated the use of cohesive links to create a reciprocal conversation in individuals with autism, Asperger syndrome, and a control group of children and adolescents with nonspecific social problems. All subjects engaged in a 10-minute conversation with an examiner that touched on various topics. The conversation was audiotaped, transcribed, and coded blindly for several types of cohesive links. Compared to controls, the higher functioning autistic group referred less to a previous stretch of the conversation and more to an aspect of the physical environment. The Asperger group, on the other hand, was very similar to the controls except they made more unclear references that were difficult to interpret. Implications of these findings for understanding the communicative failure of subjects with pervasive developmental disorder are discussed.
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