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Prosodic boundary in the speech of children with autism

By Sue JE Peppé


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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