Beyond Sentences: Using the Expression, Reception, and Recall of Narratives Instrument to Assess Communication in School-Aged Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Purpose Impairments in the social use of language are universal in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but few standardized measures evaluate communication skills above the level of individual words or sentences. This study evaluated the Expression, Reception, and Recall of Narrative Instrument (ERRNI; Bishop, 2004) to determine its contribution to assessing ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 17, 2017
Beyond Sentences: Using the Expression, Reception, and Recall of Narratives Instrument to Assess Communication in School-Aged Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joanne Volden
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Erin Dodd
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Kathleen Engel
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Isabel M. Smith
    Dalhousie University and Isaak Walton Killam Children's Hospital, Halifax, NS, Canada
  • Peter Szatmari
    University of Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Eric Fombonne
    Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Pat Mirenda
    University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • Susan Bryson
    Dalhousie University and Isaak Walton Killam Children's Hospital, Halifax, NS, Canada
  • Wendy Roberts
    University of Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Tracy Vaillancourt
    University of Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Charlotte Waddell
    Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada
  • Mayada Elsabbagh
    McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada
  • Teresa Bennett
    McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Stelios Georgiades
    McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Eric Duku
    McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • 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 Joanne Volden: jvolden@ualberta.ca
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Geralyn Timler
    Associate Editor: Geralyn Timler×
Article Information
Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 17, 2017
Beyond Sentences: Using the Expression, Reception, and Recall of Narratives Instrument to Assess Communication in School-Aged Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2017, Vol. 60, 2228-2240. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0168
History: Received April 26, 2016 , Revised November 9, 2016 , Accepted March 23, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2017, Vol. 60, 2228-2240. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0168
History: Received April 26, 2016; Revised November 9, 2016; Accepted March 23, 2017

Purpose Impairments in the social use of language are universal in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but few standardized measures evaluate communication skills above the level of individual words or sentences. This study evaluated the Expression, Reception, and Recall of Narrative Instrument (ERRNI; Bishop, 2004) to determine its contribution to assessing language and communicative impairment beyond the sentence level in children with ASD.

Method A battery of assessments, including measures of cognition, language, pragmatics, severity of autism symptoms, and adaptive functioning, was administered to 74 8- to 9-year-old intellectually able children with ASD.

Results Average performance on the ERRNI was significantly poorer than on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals–Fourth Edition (CELF-4). In addition, ERRNI scores reflecting the number and quality of relevant story components included in the participants' narratives were significantly positively related to scores on measures of nonverbal cognitive skill, language, and everyday adaptive communication, and significantly negatively correlated with the severity of affective autism symptoms.

Conclusion Results suggest that the ERRNI reveals discourse impairments that may not be identified by measures that focus on individual words and sentences. Overall, the ERRNI provides a useful measure of communicative skill beyond the sentence level in school-aged children with ASD.

Acknowledgments
We gratefully acknowledge the funding support of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, NeuroDevNet, Autism Speaks, the Government of British Columbia, Alberta Innovates: Health Solutions, and the Sinneave Family Foundation. Many thanks are also due to the children and families who devoted their time and energy to participating in this study.
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