Subject pronoun use by children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the current study, storytelling and story retelling by children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were analyzed to explore ambiguous third-person pronoun use in narratives. Twenty-three children diagnosed with ASD aged 6;1 to 14;3 and 17 typically-developing (TD) children aged 5;11 to 14;4 participated in the study. In the retelling task, no significant difference between the groups was found, suggesting that in less challenging tasks, children with ASD produce third-person subject pronouns appropriately. In the storytelling task, children with ASD produced more ambiguous third-person subject pronouns than did the TD children. The findings suggest a model in which children with ASD show deficits in the pragmatic domain of producing narratives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author thanks Barbara Pearson, Einat Shetreet, Kathleen Corriveau and Lisa Edelson for their comments on an earlier version of the manuscript and the students who transcribed and coded the language samples. The author thanks Helen Tager-Flusberg for her support and for sharing this valuable data set. This study was supported by the grant number U19 DC 03610 from the NIDCD.


  • autism
  • narrative
  • production
  • pronouns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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