Encoding of New versus Old Information by Autistic Children Research and literature on communication problems of autistic individuals have identified specific pragmatic deficiencies. This preliminary study focused upon describing autistic children's verbal performance in regard to the pragmatic ability of encoding new versus old information. Four autistic children with MLUs of 1.96–2.82 were videotaped on two occasions in interactions ... Reports
Reports  |   August 01, 1985
Encoding of New versus Old Information by Autistic Children
 
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Article Information
Reports   |   August 01, 1985
Encoding of New versus Old Information by Autistic Children
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, August 1985, Vol. 50, 230-240. doi:10.1044/jshd.5003.230
History: Received September 26, 1983 , Accepted April 18, 1985
 
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, August 1985, Vol. 50, 230-240. doi:10.1044/jshd.5003.230
History: Received September 26, 1983; Accepted April 18, 1985

Research and literature on communication problems of autistic individuals have identified specific pragmatic deficiencies. This preliminary study focused upon describing autistic children's verbal performance in regard to the pragmatic ability of encoding new versus old information. Four autistic children with MLUs of 1.96–2.82 were videotaped on two occasions in interactions with their teachers or speech-language pathologists. All of the subjects' referential utterances, including referential echolalic utterances, were categorized as the encoding of new or old information. Two prominent means that speakers used for encoding new versus old information were examined: the encoding of new information through single-word utterances (i.e., a lexicalization strategy) and the use of contrastive stress to highlight new information in multiword utterances.

The results revealed that the 4 subjects did encode new information through lexicalization in single-word utterances and through contrastive stress in multiword utterances. However, the subjects encoded old information almost as frequently as they encoded new information. The encoding of a new action or state change was marked relatively infrequently by the subjects, and they consistently produced repetitions of previously encoded information when they failed to offer new information to their listeners. The results are discussed in reference to cognitive processing patterns of autistic individuals.

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