Therapists’ response strategies in a group session involving French-speaking children with autism spectrum disorder

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The focus in this paper is on how two therapists orient a group of four French-speaking boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) towards achieving meaningful learning outcomes with regard to the topic of conversation. The analysis concentrates on the therapists’ output or response strategies when they orient the group discussion and assess speech produced by the children, either validating it or parts of it, or inviting them to provide more valid input. The material to be analysed comprises salient linguistic and interactional features in five examples representing the most frequent response categories. In terms of methodology, the study falls within the framework of conversation analysis, although insights from discourse analysis are also used to enhance the data interpretation. The results show that although a specific response category may have many functions, the aim in all of them is to maintain intersubjectivity among the participants. This is visible in the absence of overtly negative feedback, for example. The prosody gives strong clues concerning the additional meanings in the therapists’ response particles. Whereas the children maintain eye contact and show nuanced expressions such as smiling, the therapists’ attention is often directed towards notetaking and writing artefacts, behaviour that contradicts the ideal of “typical” communication.
Translated title of the contributionKuntouttajien responssistrategiat ranskankielisten autismikirjon lasten ryhmäkuntoutusistunnossa
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)109-130
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages
  • autism
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • interaction
  • conversation analysis
  • responses
  • response strategy
  • atypical interaction

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