Assessing Pragmatic Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Yale in vivo Pragmatic Protocol Purpose This study compared pragmatic language in youths (9–17 years) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and those with typical development (TD) on the Yale in vivo Pragmatic Protocol (YiPP), a semistructured, dynamic conversational assessment. Method Participants (n = 118) were divided into groups based on age and diagnosis. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2014
Assessing Pragmatic Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Yale in vivo Pragmatic Protocol
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elizabeth Schoen Simmons
    Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • Rhea Paul
    Sacred Heart University and Haskins Laboratories, Fairfield, CT
  • Fred Volkmar
    Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Elizabeth Schoen Simmons: elizabeth.schoen@yale.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Martin Fujiki
    Associate Editor: Martin Fujiki×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2014
Assessing Pragmatic Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Yale in vivo Pragmatic Protocol
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2162-2173. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-14-0040
History: Received February 10, 2014 , Revised May 22, 2014 , Accepted June 12, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2014, Vol. 57, 2162-2173. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-14-0040
History: Received February 10, 2014; Revised May 22, 2014; Accepted June 12, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose This study compared pragmatic language in youths (9–17 years) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and those with typical development (TD) on the Yale in vivo Pragmatic Protocol (YiPP), a semistructured, dynamic conversational assessment.

Method Participants (n = 118) were divided into groups based on age and diagnosis. Each completed the YiPP, which included 4 pragmatic domains (discourse management, communicative functions, conversational repair, presupposition). The participant's response to each probe was scored correct or incorrect; incorrect scores elicited cues from the examiner, and level of cue required for a correction was also scored.

Results The YiPP showed high reliability and internal consistency, with moderate concurrent validity, sensitivity, and specificity. The group with ASD performed worse overall on YiPP probes compared to their TD counterparts on both error (d = 0.96) and cue (d = 0.91) scores. Item analyses revealed greater gaps between older students with ASD and their TD peers than between the 2 younger groups.

Conclusions These data suggest that a probe measure designed to assess pragmatic abilities in children with ASD within a conversational context has some validity for contributing to diagnostic classification and can identify specific areas of pragmatic vulnerabilities as part of a clinical assessment.

Acknowledgments
Preparation of this article was supported by Research Grant P0-HD03008 funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)—Autism and Related Disorders: Development and Outcome. We would like to thank the families who participated in this study, in addition to Rebecca Loomis, who assisted with the behavioral coding.
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