Research Topic

Investigating Grammar in Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD hereafter) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by deficits in communicative and social skills. Consequently, the vast majority of research on language in ASD has focused on pragmatic difficulties, while considerably less is known about structural aspects of language ...

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD hereafter) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by deficits in communicative and social skills. Consequently, the vast majority of research on language in ASD has focused on pragmatic difficulties, while considerably less is known about structural aspects of language in this population. Work on syntax and phonology is not only sparse, but the large heterogeneity in these grammatical domains has moreover led to conflicting reports that they are either intact or impaired. A few recent studies have thus attempted to focus instead on elucidating the different language phenotypes on the spectrum, leading to the identification of a subgroup with ASD displaying deficits reminiscent of those attested in Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Still, much more remains to be understood about variations in these grammatical profiles, as well as their relation to other abilities, such as IQ, working memory and theory of mind.

The purpose of this Frontiers Research Topic is to bring together investigations of grammar in ASD suggesting novel meaningful ways to parse the associated heterogeneity. Topics that the editors anticipate to be of interest include careful analyses of subgroups and the grammar-cognition interface, experimental investigations of domains known to be delayed in SLI (e.g. finiteness, passives, long distance movement), direct comparisons of the grammatical profiles of ASD with those of other language-impaired populations, and evaluations of the role of training programs or genetics in language development.


Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, grammar-cognition interface, syntax, phonology, language phenotypes


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