Structural and Pragmatic Language Impairments in Children Evaluated for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2021, 1-19. 10.1007/s10803-020-04853-1
Pragmatic language impairments are common in neurodevelopmental disorders, especially in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The relationship between structural language skills and pragmatic competence in children with autistic symptoms, however, is largely unknown. We investigated this relationship based on the Children’s Communication Checklist-2 and early language delay among children (N = 177, 19% females) clinically evaluated for ASD, differentiated into ASD (n = 148) and non-ASD (n = 29). Structural language deficits were common and associated with reduced pragmatic competence in both groups. Pragmatic language impairments were most profound in children with ASD. Early language delay and structural language deficits were less common in females. Our findings suggest that assessment of structural language skills should be included in the evaluation of children with suspected ASD.