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J Autism Dev Disord. 2019 Sep 6. doi: 10.1007/s10803-019-04202-x. [Epub ahead of print]

Advantage in Character Recognition Among Chinese Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Department of English, School of Foreign Languages, Sun Yat-sen University, 135 Xingangxi Road, Guangzhou, China.
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.
Human Communication, Development, and Information Sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.
School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences & Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University, 5 Yiheyuan Road, Beijing, China.


This study examined Chinese character recognition and its cognitive and linguistic correlates in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Forty-seven children with ASD and 51 IQ-matched typically developing (TD) children were tested on Chinese character recognition, rapid automatized naming, inhibitory control, digit span, IQ, vocabulary, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and listening comprehension. Chinese children with ASD showed strong character recognition skills. Unlike TD children's character recognition, which was correlated with all the measured cognitive and linguistic skills, character recognition of children with ASD was only significantly correlated with rapid automatized naming, inhibitory control, and phonological awareness. Our findings suggest that phonological awareness and rapid automatized naming may serve as important predictors for possible advantage in emergent literacy acquisition in Chinese children with ASD.


Autism spectrum disorders; Character recognition; Cognitive abilities; Hyperlexia; Metalinguistic skills


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