The impact of subtle language difficulties on autistic individuals with higher cognitive ability is not well understood; despite general acceptance that functional communication is problematic for this group. In this study twelve autistic children aged 9-14years, with basic structural language (vocabulary and sentences) within normal limits, were interviewed on their experiences of communication breakdown. Specially developed interview methods were used to elicit rich descriptions from the children and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore themes. Results showed that these children were able to provide detailed insight into strengths and weaknesses in their language and communication profiles. While some idiosyncratic features were identified by individuals, there were also important areas of overlap, including difficulties with word finding, listening in group environments and problems with storytelling. This was perceived to impact significantly on the children’s ability to make and maintain friendships and their sense of well-being. This study points to the need for further investigation into the language and communication profiles of autistic children, who may go unrecognised as having higher level language difficulties. Appropriate support for this group could yield positive outcomes in social function and well-being. This study also demonstrates efficacy of seeking structured self-report from autistic children, with implications for target-setting in clinical practice and research planning.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jul 2021|
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Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness (ManCAD)
Munro, K., Millman, R., Lamb, W., Dawes, P., Plack, C., Stone, M., Kluk-De Kort, K., Moore, D., Morton, C., Prendergast, G., Couth, S., Schlittenlacher, J., Chilton, H., Visram, A., Dillon, H., Guest, H., Heinrich, A., Jackson, I., Littlejohn, J., Jones, L., Lough, M., Morgan, R., Perugia, E., Roughley, A., Short, A., Whiston, H., Wright, C., Saunders, G. & Kelly, C.