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J Autism Dev Disord. 2003 Jun;33(3):239-51.

Narrative ability in high-functioning children with autism or Asperger's syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California at Berkeley, 3210 Tolman Hall, #1650, Berkeley, California 94720-1650, USA.


This study examines the narrative abilities of 28 high-functioning children with autism or Asperger's Syndrome and 22 typically developing children across two different discourse contexts. As compared with the typically developing children, the high-functioning group performed relatively well in the storybook context but exhibited difficulty imbuing their narratives of personal experience with the more sophisticated characteristics typically employed by the comparison group. Furthermore, children with autism or Asperger's Syndrome demonstrated impairments inferring and building on the underlying causal relationships both within and across story episodes in both narrative contexts. Findings further revealed that the narrative abilities of children with autism or Asperger's Syndrome were associated with performance on measures of emotional understanding, but not theory of mind or verbal IQ. Findings are discussed in relation to the social and emotional underpinnings of narrative discourse.

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