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Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2012 Jul;6(3):1150-1155.

Quality matters! Differences between expressive and receptive non-verbal communication skills in adolescents with ASD.

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Emerson College, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 120 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116 ; University of Massachusetts Medical School Shriver Center, 200 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA 02452.


We analyzed several studies of non-verbal communication (prosody and facial expressions) completed in our lab and conducted a secondary analysis to compare performance on receptive vs. expressive tasks by adolescents with ASD and their typically developing peers. Results show a significant between-group difference for the aggregate score of expressive tasks, but not for the aggregate score of receptive tasks. There was also a significant within-group difference among individuals with ASD for expressive vs. receptive performance. Our data indicate that adolescents with ASD can achieve receptive accuracy in non-verbal communication, but show significant qualitative deficits in expressive skills across a range of tasks, which may have a significant negative impact on their success as social communicators.


Autism; Expressive; Facial Expressions; Prosody; Receptive

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