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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Pia NORDGREN

Attention in terms of response time in one child with autism spectrum disorders

Abstract/Résumé: Many studies have tried to find the early precursors of autism spectrum disorders. Phonetic perception may be a precursor for language development (Kuhl, 1992, 2000), in the way that a child ́s early ability to discriminate between speech sounds affects later language ability. As autism is related to difficulties with integrating sensory input, it is obvious that language will be affected if children with ASD respond differently to environmental stimuli. In addition, perceptual difficulties may be related to attentional difficulties. A question arises whether problems in phonological development affect other language areas negatively and whether training in phonology develops the child ́s language competence and cognitive skills in general. Linguistic theories of speech production, such as the motor theory of speech perception, strengthen the theories that link speech production and mirror neurons. According to the motor theory of speech perception we get feedback from the speech muscles when we listen to sounds and so there is a linguistic connection between production and perception. Speech production and speech perception are traditionally seen as belonging to different areas of the brain, but current theories strengthen the connection between the two areas. In the current study of language development, we examine attention in terms of response time of a 5 – year old boy, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The purpose is to investigate whether response time in dialogue, that is the time span between the teacher’s prompt and the response, decreases with training. The boy is followed in repeated sessions over a year. An implementation, was constructed where stimuli (minimal pairs) are gradually introduced in order to increase awareness of phonemic contrasts and symbolic representations. The boy listens repeatedly and participates in a doll - play with his teacher/speech therapist, in a systematic way. The boy is given a large amount of positive feedback. A corpus was collected from videofilm and then transcribed and annotated for response time data in PRAAT. Results showing response time in relation to phonological development will be presented. ICD10, International classification of diseases, used since 1994. Kuhl, P et al (1992), Linguistic experience alters phonetic perception in infants by 6 months of age, Science, 255, 606 – 608. Kuhl, P. (2000), A new view of language acquisition, Proceedings of the National Acad Sciences. Kuhl, P. (2000), Language, mind and brain: Experiences alters perception, chapter 8 in the New Cognitive Neurosciences, Second edition, Bradford Books (1999).