About this Research Topic
Since the 1990s, the literature on the relationships between figurative language and neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disorder, Language Disorder, in particular) has noted that figurative language processing, especially with respect to metaphor, metonymy, idioms and irony, represents an evident source of difficulty for children. Aside from the pioneering autism studies of the 1940s, from Kanner to Asperger, which explored metaphor production, post-war experimental research focused nearly exclusively on comprehension. In recent years, we have witnessed a renewed interest in the study of figurative language production (and particularly metaphor), in parallel with a new research focus on educational intervention programs that aim to enhance comprehension. The encouraging results obtained through these programs has opened up new perspectives on what was once viewed only as a deficit in figurative language competence. The possibility of obtaining significant improvements after such intervention programs, in which participants are encouraged to enact specific procedures, has illuminated both certain production mechanisms that had previously been insufficiently explored, and the in-depth comprehension of figurative language. Beyond practical effects, the outcomes of these programs also raise theoretical challenges. The current Research Topic addresses all researchers interested in the study of the relationships between figurative language competence and neurodevelopmental disorders, with a special focus on the educational methods that are likely to trigger new constructive production and comprehension processes in children with such difficulties.
We welcome all contributions (basic and clinical research, case studies, literature reviews) addressing:
1) Intervention programs that aim to enhance figurative language competence in a broad sense, i.e. including any of the major typologies (metaphor, metonymy, idioms, irony and sarcasm) in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Studies might focus either on comprehension or production.
2) Intervention programs that aim to enhance figurative language competence among children characterized by different conditions within neurodevelopmental disorders.
Keywords: figurative language, comprehension, production, intervention, neurodevelopmental disorders
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