Relations Among Detection of Syllable Stress, Speech Abnormalities, and Communicative Ability in Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders Purpose To date, the literature on perception of affective, pragmatic, and grammatical prosody abilities in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been sparse and contradictory. It is interesting to note that the primary perception of syllable stress within the word structure, which is crucial for all prosody functions, remains relatively unexplored ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2016
Relations Among Detection of Syllable Stress, Speech Abnormalities, and Communicative Ability in Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Niko Kargas
    University of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
  • Beatriz López
    University of Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom
  • Paul Morris
    University of Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom
  • Vasudevi Reddy
    University of Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom
  • 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 Beatriz López: beatriz.lopez@port.ac.uk
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Kate Bunton
    Associate Editor: Kate Bunton×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2016
Relations Among Detection of Syllable Stress, Speech Abnormalities, and Communicative Ability in Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2016, Vol. 59, 206-215. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0237
History: Received August 28, 2014 , Revised February 21, 2015 , Accepted August 18, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2016, Vol. 59, 206-215. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0237
History: Received August 28, 2014; Revised February 21, 2015; Accepted August 18, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose To date, the literature on perception of affective, pragmatic, and grammatical prosody abilities in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been sparse and contradictory. It is interesting to note that the primary perception of syllable stress within the word structure, which is crucial for all prosody functions, remains relatively unexplored in ASD. Thus, in the current study, we explored syllable stress perception sensitivity and its relationship to speech production abnormalities and communicative ability in adults with ASD.

Method A same–different syllable stress perception task using pairs of identical 4-syllable words was delivered to 42 adults with/without high-functioning ASD, matched for age, to investigate primary speech perception ability in ASD. Speech production and communicative ability in ASD was measured using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (Lord et al., 2000).

Results As predicted, the results showed that adults with ASD were less sensitive in making judgments about syllable stress relative to controls. Also, partial correlations revealed a key association of speech production abnormalities with stress perception sensitivity, rather than communicative ability.

Conclusions Our findings provide empirical evidence for deficits on primary syllable stress perception in ASD and its role on sociocommunicative difficulties. This information could facilitate the development of effective interventions for speech and language therapy and social communication.

Acknowledgments
A doctoral bursary to the first author from the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, funded this research. The authors gratefully acknowledge the participants who took part in the research. We would also like to thank the Autism Research Network, University of Portsmouth, and a local support group for adults with autism for their invaluable help. We would also like to thank the three reviewers for their helpful and constructive feedback on an earlier version of this manuscript.
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