Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

This study compared the narrative abilities of 19 children with Autism Spectrum

Disorder (ASD) and 26 neurotypical children (NT), between 6 and 12 years of age, on two story retelling tasks: a script-based story and a non-script based story. The script- based story contained the structural aspects of a narrative, but also had the internal framework of a script (Hayward et al., 2007). Given the reduced cognitive and linguistic demands of the script-based story, it was expected that the script-based narrative measure would minimize narrative differences between children with and without ASD. Additionally, the relation between narrative production, theory of mind (ToM), and linguistic abilities were examined. Unexpectedly, the narration of both story types was equally difficult for children with ASD for the majority of narrative variables, including syntactic complexity, structure, content, appropriate use of references, and causal connectivity, which resulted in narratives that were less coherent and cohesive than the NT group. Closer examination of the script-based story revealed that children with ASD were including the same number of script details as the NT children, but were less likely to include the non-script details. These findings suggested that the children with ASD had more general narrative impairments, instead of abnormalities in their representation of script knowledge. Among children with ASD, ToM uniquely predicted narrative coherence and cohesion for both story types. Implications for the understanding of common events and the need for narrative interventions are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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