Phonological Processing in the Autism Spectrum
One possible source of communication problems in individuals with autism is their failure to put the individual sounds of spoken language in context. For instance, in conversation people frequently mispronounce words, and previous research by Dr. Stewart and colleagues has shown that individuals with “autistic traits” are less likely to put the word into context to correctly perceive the intended word. In this study, Dr. Stewart's fellow will assess whether this lack of “ability to infer when listening to others” is apparent in individuals with autism and Asperger Syndrome, and to explore the factors that can affect the perception of spoken language. Factors such as the frequency of the word in a language, its phonetic similarity to the mispronounced word, and its social and emotional meaning, will all be examined for their ability to enhance correct perception of an intended message. What this means to people with autism:A more exact understanding of the specific problems with processing spoken language in those with ASD will help to develop better interventions that will in turn make for more successful and satisfying communication.