Ungrammatical utterances and disfluent speech as causes of comprehension problems in interactions of preadolescents with high functioning autism

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This study describes the role of ungrammatical utterances and disfluent speech in the creation of comprehension problems between the participants in group therapy sessions of preadolescents with autism. The speech of the autistic preadolescents included frequent disfluencies and morpho-syntactic problems, such as wrong case endings, ambiguous pronominal references, grammatically incoherent syntactic structures and inaccurate tenses, which caused problems of comprehension. Three different interactional trajectories occurred when solving the potential problems of comprehension following the morpho-syntactically disfluent turns. First, the disfluent turn sometimes led to a clarification request by a co-participant, either a therapist or another participant with ASD. The preadolescents with ASD showed interactional skilfulness in requesting clarification when faced with comprehension problems. Second, in contrast, other occurrences included one or several self-repairs by the speaker with ASD. In these cases, the other group participants either did not react or they encouraged the speaker to continue using discourse particles. If the self-repairing disfluencies led to a persisting problem of comprehension, the therapists sometimes intervened and resolved the problem. However, direct interventions by the therapists were infrequent because the participants with ASD were mostly able to resolve the comprehension problems by themselves. Third, some disfluent and/or grammatically incorrect turns were not treated as problematic by the co-participants nor by the speaker himself.
Translated title of the contributionEpäkieliopilliset lausumat ja epäsujuva puhe ymmärrysongelmien aiheuttajina lievästi autististen varhaisnuorten vuorovaikutuksessa
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Linguistics & Phonetics
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)654-676
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • Autism
  • MIND
  • comprehension problems
  • conversation analysis
  • disfluent speech
  • morpho-syntactic problems
  • 6121 Languages
  • 6163 Logopedics
  • 6161 Phonetics

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