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Personal Narratives of High-Functioning Children with Autism
The purpose of the study was to investigate the personal narratives of 19 high-functioning children with autism (full IQ average = 105) and a matched group of children with normal development. The two groups were matched on CA, Full IQ, nonverbal IQ and a standardized syntax comprehension test. The longest narrative of each child was chosen and evaluated by adapting the Narrative Assessment Protocal (Bliss & McCabe, 2003) for this study, and the adapted 5-point rating scale evaluated eight dimensions of personal narrative. The average inter-rater reliability for each dimension was .87. The autistic group was found to differ significantly on 6 quantitative dimensions of narrative performance, and these differences in rank order from the greatest to the smallest were: evaluation, reasonableness, referential skill, background information, topic maintenance, and number of events sequenced appropriately. The two groups also differed in terms of the most frequent narrative patterns used. The autistic group used more "chronologically sequenced" or "disordered" narratives, while the normal group had more "well-evaluated narratives." The two groups also differed in terms of the topics they shared. The two groups did not differ in total number of utterances, total number of words, MLU and number of different connectives used. Since the two groups were matched for full IQ, nonverbal IQ and syntax ability, a more likely reason for the narrative performance difference might be social-cognitive ability differences, which might affect the appreciation of the functions of personal narratives, as well as understanding of-and ability to evaluate-the experiences reported and awareness of listeners' interests and needs.
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