The Development of Idiom Comprehension in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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  • This project is concerned with the development of idiom comprehension in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The performance of four children between the ages of 6 and 13 years, with High Functioning Autism (HFA), was compared on different idiom interpretation tasks. The three idiom interpretation tasks included defining idiomatic expressions in isolation, within a given context, and in a pictured multiple choice task. Ten unfamiliar idioms were used in all three tasks. The results were analyzed by comparing the performance of the participants across the three age groups, 6, 9-10 and 12-13 years of age. Their idiom interpretation abilities were also compared to Levorato and Cacciari’s model of idiom comprehension in typically developing children. The findings from this investigation will provide an opportunity to explore how age and the processing of contextual information contribute to the developmental course of idiom comprehension in children with ASD. This study found that children with HFA develop idiom comprehension through the same stages as typically developing children. It also shows that context plays an important role in idiom comprehension.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International