Brief Report: A Scale for Rating Conversational Impairment in Autism Spectrum Disorder Journal Articles uri icon

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  • There are few well-standardized measures of conversational breakdown in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The study's objective was to develop a scale for measuring pragmatic impairments in conversations of individuals with ASD. We analyzed 46 semi-structured conversations of children and adolescents with high-functioning ASD using a functional linguistic paradigm. Five constructs were developed that assessed difficulties related to the pragmatics of conversation: atypical intonation; semantic drift; terseness; pedantic speech; perseveration. The scale shows good inter-rater reliability and variation in the scales is not simply a reflection of IQ or language competence. This tool represents a way of characterizing language use in ASD and is an initial step towards developing a tool to evaluate change in degree of social impairments in conversation.


  • de Villiers, Jessica
  • Fine, Jonathan
  • Ginsberg, Gary
  • Vaccarella, Liezanne
  • Szatmari, Peter

publication date

  • August 2007