Comprehension of Interrogative Sentences in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Objectives: Study the comprehension of different types of questions in ASD and establish the role of visual support and ToM on it.
Methods: In this study, we examined the comprehension of wh and yes/no questions through visual and non-visual tasks, with and without false-belief content. We selected 16 high-functioning ASD children from 7 to 12 years old (mean = 10.03 years old). All of them were Spanish-Catalan bilingual with Spanish dominance. They were individually matched by verbal mental age with a group of children in the same age range (mean= 9.79 years old).
Results: No significant differences were found between the TD and the ASD group. The ASD and the TD have greater difficulties to answer wh rather than yes/no questions. In addition, both groups performed better in Non-ToM than ToM tasks and in those with visual support.
Conclusions: High-functioning ASD children did not show significant difficulties to understand interrogative sentences compared to their neurotypical peers. ASD and TD showed a greater level of understanding yes/no rather than wh questions. Moreover, both groups show that visual support helps to a better question comprehension. Questions involved in ToM tasks are not only more demanding to comprehend for ASD but also for typically developing children.