Aspergers: Speech and Language

"Do children with Asperger’s have speech or language problems, or is this purely an issue in Autism?"

Although kids with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism acquire language skills without significant general delay, and their speech typically lacks significant abnormalities, language acquisition and use is often atypical. Abnormalities include:
  • abrupt transitions
  • auditory perception deficits
  • literal interpretations
  • miscomprehension of nuance
  • oddities in loudness, pitch, intonation, prosody, and rhythm 
  • unusually pedantic, formal or idiosyncratic speech
  • use of metaphor meaningful only to the speaker
  • verbosity

Three aspects of communication patterns are of clinical interest:
  • marked verbosity
  • poor prosody
  • tangential and circumstantial speech

Although inflection and intonation may be less rigid or monotonic than in Autism, young people with Aspergers often have a limited range of intonation (e.g., speech may be unusually fast, jerky or loud). Speech may convey a sense of incoherence, and the conversational style often includes monologues about topics that bore the listener, fails to provide context for comments, or fails to suppress internal thoughts.

Young people with Aspergers may fail to monitor whether the listener is interested or engaged in the conversation. The Aspergers child’s conclusion or point may never be made, and attempts by the listener to elaborate on the speech's content or logic, or to shift to related topics, are often unsuccessful.

Kids with Aspergers may have an unusually sophisticated vocabulary at a very young age and have been colloquially called "little professors," but have difficulty understanding figurative language and tend to use language literally. These kids also appear to have particular weaknesses in areas of non-literal language that include humor, irony, and teasing.

Although young people with Aspergers usually understand the cognitive basis of humor, they seem to lack understanding of the intent of humor to share enjoyment with others. Despite strong evidence of impaired humor appreciation, anecdotal reports of humor in kids with Aspergers seem to challenge some psychological theories of both Aspergers and Autism.


More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

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 COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… Article is very accurate.
•    Anonymous said… I might have helpful info. My 7 yr old has Aspergers and my 3 yr old is deaf. Signing has really helped my family. My Aspie can sign to me anytime, anything and not interrupt anybody or say something that might be rude. I can do the same if I need a behavior to stop but don't want to publicly point it out.
•    Anonymous said… my son has aspergers but didn't talk till he was 3 and a half. his speech is still behind his age group.
•    Anonymous said… My son is 7 and has Aspergers. Hes never had trouble with talking, but having a conversation and understanding and following instructions, he really gets lost. We have to slow everything down and do everything in little steps for him.
•    Anonymous said… The only problems with speech my son (hfa) had was due to tongue tie. His language skills are way above average, he has always had a wide vocabulary.
•    Anonymous said… usually just the idioms and pragmatic stuff... my kids vocab are awesome...

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