Pattern of Syntactic Profile in Children with Autism: A Study on the Relation between Reception and Expression of Syntax
AbstractIntroduction: Language impairment is a primary characteristic of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, findings of language deficits in these children have been inconclusive, and many researchers believe that in such children the pattern of language profiles is different from normal children. To determine this pattern, comprehension and expression of syntax were examined in 10 Persian speaking children at ages 6-9. Children with autism were compared to normal groups on the basis of their age and language.Material and Methods: In this study, research data were collected of 10 children with autism and 20 normal cases (10 age-matched and 10 language-matched). Gilliam Autism Rating Scale- 2 and the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire were used for diagnosis of children with autism, and test of language development was used to determine their language scores. Afterward, reception of syntactic structures was assessed using the Persian syntax comprehension test, and expression of it was also evaluated using a Persian photographic grammar expression test. Finally, the data were analyzed by Kolmogorov–Smirnov, Mann–Whitney, and Wilcoxon tests.Results: Comparing the total scores shows that in normal groups, there was a significant difference between receptive and expressive of syntax both in terms of the number of correct tasks and number of correct structures. However, in the study group, such a difference was only seen in the number of correct tasks. Comparison of reception and expression of different structures in all groups showed that there was a significant difference between receptive and expressive tasks of subject relative clause in children with autism and language-matched group. However, in age-matched group, such a difference was not noticed. As to the grammatical relations such as aspect, tense and superlative adjectives, there were no significant differences between receptive and expressive tasks of any groups. Finally, there was a significant difference in terms of using of independent pronouns just in group of children with autism.Conclusion: Overall, it can be concluded that comparing total scores of difference between reception and expression does not suffice for making a hypothesis that in ASD comprehension of all structures is more difficult than their expression because their performance in different structures of syntax is variant.Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Expression; Comprehension; Syntax
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2013.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Autism spectrum disorder [Online]. [cited 2016 Jul 11]; Available from: URL:
Bishop DV. Which neurodevelopmental disorders get researched and why? PLoS One 2010; 5(11): e15112.
Kjelgaard MM, Tager-Flusberg H. An investigation of language impairment in autism: implications for genetic subgroups. Lang Cogn Process 2001; 16(2-3): 287-308.
Chapman RS, Miller JF. Word order in early two and three word utterances: does production precede comprehension?. J Speech Hear Res 1975; 18(2): 355-71.
Mitchell S, Cardy JO, Zwaigenbaum L. Differentiating autism spectrum disorder from other developmental delays in the first two years of life. Dev Disabil Res Rev 2011; 17(2): 130-40.
Hudry K, Leadbitter K, Temple K, Slonims V, McConachie H, Aldred C, et al. Preschoolers with autism show greater impairment in receptive compared with expressive language abilities. Int J Lang Commun Disord 2010; 45(6): 681-90.
Kover ST, McDuffie AS, Hagerman RJ, Abbeduto L. Receptive vocabulary in boys with autism spectrum disorder: cross-sectional developmental trajectories. J Autism Dev Disord 2013; 43(11): 2696-709.
Ellis WS, Lord C, Esler A. Early language patterns of toddlers on the autism spectrum compared to toddlers with developmental delay. J Autism Dev Disord 2010; 40(10): 1259-73.
Volden J, Smith IM, Szatmari P, Bryson S, Fombonne E, Mirenda P, et al. Using the preschool language scale, fourth edition to characterize language in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Am J Speech Lang Pathol 2011; 20(3): 200-8.
Maljaars J, Noens I, Scholte E, van Berckelaer-Onnes I. Language in low-functioning children with autistic disorder: differences between receptive and expressive skills and concurrent predictors of language. J Autism Dev Disord 2012; 42(10): 2181-91.
Luyster RJ, Kadlec MB, Carter A, Tager-Flusberg H. Language assessment and development in
toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 2008; 38(8): 1426-38.
Luyster R, Lopez K, Lord C. Characterizing communicative development in children referred for autism spectrum disorders using the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI). J Child Lang 2007; 34(3): 623-54.
Jarrold C, Boucher J, Russell J. Language profiles in children with autism: theoretical and methodological implications. Autism 1997; 1(1): 57-76.
Kwok EYL, Brown HM, Smyth RE, Oram Cardy J. Meta-analysis of receptive and expressive language skills in autism spectrum disorder. Res Autism Spectr Disord 2015; 9: 202-22.
Dunley K. Sentence comprehension and phonological memory in boys with fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorder [MSc Thesis]. Washington, DC: University of Washington; 2015.
Ahadi H. Analyzing the comprehension of active and passive structures in Persian autistic children. Language and Linguistic 2016; 11(22): 77-100. [In Persian].
Ahadi H. Comparing expressive grammar in children with autism and typically developing children. Language Related Research 2016; [Epub ahead of print]. [In Persian].
Roohparvar R, Karami M, Madadi M. Comparing phonetic, phonologic, morphologic and syntactic features of speech in children with autism and typically developing children. J Mod Rehabil 2014; 8(3): 62-8.
Ahmadi SJ, Safari T, Hemmatian M, Khalili Z. The psychometric properties of Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS). Research of Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences 2011; 1(1): 87-104. [In Persian].
Kasechi M. Validity and reliability of Persian version of Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire [MSc Thesis]. Tehran, Iran: University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation; 2011. [In Persian].
Hasanzadeh S, Minaei, A. Adaptation and standardization of language development test TOLD-P: 3 for Persian language children (Part 1). Journal of Exceptional Children 2001; 1(1): 35-51. [In Persian].
Mohamadi R. Development and standardization of a syntax comprehension test for Persian 4-6 year old children [PhD Thesis]. Tehran, Iran: University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences; 2014. [In Persian].
Haresabadi F. Design and validation of Persian Photographic grammer expression test for 4-6 years old children [PhD Thesis]. Tehran, Iran: University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences; 2014. [In Persian].