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Res Dev Disabil. 2012 Sep-Oct;33(5):1395-407. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2012.03.007. Epub 2012 Apr 21.

Narrative competence and internal state language of children with Asperger Syndrome and ADHD.

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Department of German Language Studies, Clinical Linguistics, Philipps-University Marburg, D-35032 Marburg, Germany.


The central question of the present study was whether there are differences between children with Asperger Syndrome (AS), children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and healthy controls (HC) with respect to the organization of narratives and their verbalization of internal states. Oral narrations of a wordless picture book produced by 31 children (11 with AS, 9 with ADHD, 11 HC, aged 8-12) were analyzed regarding the following linguistic variables: story length, sentence structure and sentence complexity, coherence and cohesion of the stories, verbalization of the narrator's perspective, as well as internal state language (verbal reference to mental states). Considerable similarities were noted between the two clinical groups, which deviate from HC children. Narratives of the children with AS and ADHD were shorter than the narratives produced by the HC children. The children of both clinical groups failed to point out the main aspects of the story. In particular, children with AS did not refer to cognitive states as often as the other groups. With respect to narrative coherence, they produced fewer pronominal references than HC children and children with ADHD. In conclusion, the two clinical groups differed from the HC group on a number of features, and a less frequent reference to cognitive states was identified for the children with AS.

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