Reliability of the Pragmatic Rating Scale in High Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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  • Background: Pragmatic skills are, by definition, impaired in people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). These difficulties can negatively influence a person’s interpersonal relationships, their ability to find employment and their overall quality of life. Currently, there is little research that characterizes the pragmatic communication difficulties that affect high-functioning adults with ASD. The Pragmatic Rating Scale (Paul et al., 2009) is one scale that may prove helpful for quantifying pragmatic impairments but its reliability has not been documented in adults with ASD. Purpose/Aim: To determine if the Pragmatic Rating Scale can be used to make reliable judgments regarding the quality of communication in high functioning adults with ASD. Method: Following training, audio recordings of simulated job interviews of twenty adults with ASD and twenty controls, matched for chronological- and nonverbal mental-age plus five unmatched ASD participants, were transcribed using Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT; Miller & Iglesias, 2008) and then rated using the Pragmatic Rating Scale. Pairs of raters independently evaluated each interview. Inter-rater agreement was determined by using the following formula: {number of agreements/(number of agreements + number of disagreements)} x 100. Overall, raters achieved consistently high reliability calculated to 90% for ‘broad reliability’ and 88% for inter-rater reliability. Having a reliable tool to help identify areas of need and strengths regarding pragmatic skills in people who have ASD could help facilitate success in the workplace and in gaining employment.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International