Prosodic boundary in the speech of children with autism

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Peppé, Sue JE
  • Subject: PE

Expressive prosody is thought to be disordered in\ud autism, and this study sets out to evaluate one\ud aspect (prosodic boundary) to investigate a) how\ud naïve judges rate utterances for atypicality; b)\ud whether pitch and duration measurements in those\ud utterances differ from those of typicallydeveloping\ud children; and c) whether children with\ud autism can use prosodic boundary in speech for\ud linguistic distinctions. Samples were drawn from\ud children aged between 5 and 13 years; 31 with\ud language-delayed high-functioning autism (LDHFA),\ud 40 with Asperger's syndrome (AS) and 119\ud with typical development (TD). Results showed\ud that naïve judges perceived children with LD-HFA\ud as sounding more atypical than those with AS, who\ud in turn were marginally more atypical than those\ud with TD. Measurements suggested those with LDHFA\ud had wider pitch-span than those with TD.\ud The groups did not differ on linguistic\ud functionality, and it is possible that factors other\ud than prosody contributed to the perception of\ud atypicality.
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