The Ability to Retell a Story: Children with ASD in Comparison to Typical Development

Poster Presentation
Friday, May 11, 2018: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
Y. Kimhi1,2, L. Kadosh2, G. Tubul-Lavy3 and N. B. Bauminger-Zviely4, (1)Levinsky College of Education, Tel Aviv, Israel, (2)Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel, (3)Ono Academic College, Kiryat Ono, Israel, (4)School of Education, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel

Oral retelling is the restating of a text that was heard or read. Retelling demonstrates one’s ability to identify relevant information of the previously heard (or read) text and integrate these ideas into a coherent narrative. Examining oral story retelling abilities enables delineating different levels of comprehension and is therefore an efficient strategy for discovering whether a child understands what he or she has heard or read. Impaired reading comprehension has been reported for children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) yet, research regarding oral retelling abilities in ASD is scarce.


  1. To examine group differences (ASD/TD) in oral story retelling abilities (macrostructure and microstructure characteristics) in both channels (reading and listening).
  2. To examine within group differences regarding oral story retelling abilities in the different channels (after reading / after listening).
  3. Correlations between ToM and story retelling abilities.


Participants included 40 third grade school-age children: 20 cognitively able children with ASD and 20 children with typical development. Groups were matched on SES, VIQ, CA and gender. VIQ was assessed by the PPVT-III (Dunn & Dunn, 1997). Story retelling was compared in two tasks: retelling following listening to the text and retelling following individual reading of the text. The Katzenberger Hebrew Language Assessment (KHLA; Katzenberger, 2016) was used to assess the children's ability to retell the story they read / listened to. The KHLA is a standardized in-depth norm-referenced test of language for children in the elementary school age range. Two major KHLA dimensions were measured: essential (equivalent to macrostructure) and optional (equivalent to microstructure) characteristics. ToM was assessed by two second-order false-belief tasks; (a) "The Ice Cream Van Task" (Perner & Wimmer, 1985); (b) ToM faux pas task (Baron-Cohen, O’Riordan, Stone, Jones, & Plaisted, 1999).


Main findings showed that cognitively able school-age children with ASD demonstrated difficulties in comparison to their typically developing peers when retelling the story that they read / listened to, only in relation to one aspect of the macrostructural essential components (relation between text events), and not for the microstructural optional components. No differences emerged between the channels (reading / listening) in both groups, and retelling the optional microstructure components was easier than retelling the macrostructural essential components in both groups. ToM scores were positively correlated with the macrostructural essential components.


This study presents an in-depth examination of the macro (essential) and microstructure (optional) story retelling abilities of cognitively able children with ASD in comparison to their typically developing peers. The contribution of this study is two-fold: the assessment of the abilities in relation to the different channels – reading and listening, and the analysis of the relation between story retelling abilities and ToM. These findings are important when considering classroom accommodations and modifications. Story retelling is considered an effective literacy and language enhancement strategy, and therefore crucial for developing academic abilities. Considering the academic difficulties typical of children with ASD, all strategies that may advance these abilities are important to study and develop.