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The phenotype and neural correlates of language in autism: an integrative review.

By W.B. Groen, M.P. Zwiers, R.J. van der Gaag and J.K. Buitelaar


Although impaired communication is one of the defining criteria in autism, linguistic functioning is highly variable among people with this disorder. Accumulating evidence shows that language impairments in autism are more extensive than commonly assumed and described by formal diagnostic criteria and are apparent at various levels. Phenotypically, most people with autism have semantic, syntactic and pragmatic deficits, a smaller number are known to have phonological deficits. Neurophysiologically, abnormal processing of low-level linguistic information points to perceptual difficulties. Also, abnormal high-level linguistic processing of the frontal and temporal language association cortices indicates more self-reliant and less connected neural subsystems. Early sensory impairments and subsequent atypical neural connectivity are likely to play a part in abnormal language acquisition in autism. This paper aims to review the available data on the phenotype of language in autism as well as a number of structural, electrophysiological and functional brain-imaging studies to provide a more integrated view of the linguistic phenotype and its underlying neural deficits, and to provide new directions for research and therapeutic and experimental applications

Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2008.05.008
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Provided by: NARCIS
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