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The relationship between form and function level receptive prosodic abilities in autism.

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Affect, Asperger Syndrome, diagnosis, psychology, Auditory Perceptual Disorders, Autistic Disorder, Child, Choice Behavior, Comprehension, Speech Perception, Concept Formation, Female, Humans, Judgment, Language Development Disorders, Male, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Semantics, Speech Acoustics, Adolescent

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      Prosody can be conceived as having form (auditory-perceptual characteristics) and function (pragmatic/linguistic meaning). No known studies have examined the relationship between form- and function-level prosodic skills in relation to the effects of stimulus length and/or complexity upon such abilities in autism. Research in this area is both insubstantial and inconclusive. Children with autism and controls completed the receptive tasks of the Profiling Elements of Prosodic Systems in Children (PEPS-C) test, which examines both form- and function-level skills, and a sentence-level task assessing the understanding of intonation. While children with autism were unimpaired in both form and function tasks at the single-word level, they showed significantly poorer performance in the corresponding sentence-level tasks than controls. Implications for future research are discussed.

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