'The frog ate the bug and made his mouth sad': Narrative competence in children with autism

Lisa Capps, Molly Losh*, Christopher Thurber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study compares the narrative abilities of 13 children with autism, 13 children with developmental delays, and 13 typically developing children matched on language ability. Although groups did not differ in their use of causal language or internal state terms, children with autism and children with developmental delays were less likely than typical children to identify the causes of characters' internal states. Rather, they tended simply to label emotions and explain actions. Children with autism and children with developmental delays also relied on a more restricted range of evaluative devices, which both convey point of view and maintain listener involvement. In addition, the narrative abilities of children with autism were linked to performance on measures of theory of mind and an index of conversational competence, whereas this was not the case among children with developmental delays. Findings are discussed in relation to the social, cognitive, and emotional underpinnings and consequences of narrative activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-204
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Conversational competence
  • Narrative
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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