Observational and reported measures of language and pragmatics in young people with autism: a comparison of respondent data and gender profiles

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Females and males with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and normal range performance IQ were compared to typically developing (TD) controls (8-11years) using a range of language and pragmatic measures. Assessment of functional ability was made from clinical observations and parent, teacher and self-reports. Potential biases in reporting were identified by comparing results between measures, as well as with direct assessments of language and pragmatics. Significant group and gender differences were found on clinician ratings of pragmatic ability, with ASD females performing better than ASD males but worse than TD controls. Parents identified gender differences on behavioural measures of emotions, with ASD females performing worst overall. In addition, this study showed potential differences between clinician, parent, teacher and self- reports of difficulty. This has implications for the assessment of ASD females in clinical practice and within future research. Direct assessments were found to under-represent difficulties when compared to functional reports from parents and clinicians. Overall, it indicates the need for holistic assessment to accurately represent the profile of language and pragmatic difficulties for ASD females. The results of this study also have wider implications for the accurate identification of ASD in females and their specific needs in terms of social communication support.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Sep 2019

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