Conversation and discourse analyses of informal familial interactions with children with autism spectrum disorder

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Deveau, Amber
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University of Guelph

The purpose of this study was to use discourse-analytic and conversation-analytic procedures to examine the co-construction of informal talk-in-interaction between children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their family members. Audiotapes of four informal videotaped conversations between children with ASD and their family members were analyzed using conversation-analytic and discourse-analytic techniques. Children with ASD were able to recognize that a question was being asked and offered an adequate response the majority of the time. The study highlights discourse strategies used to shape normative production of speech on the part of the children with ASD and how the parents and children managed conversational difficulties through the use of conversational repair. Initiation strategies used by both the children and the parents were also explored. Children with ASD demonstrated the ability to initiate topics in conversation using news announcements and itemized news enquiries as topic initiators. Findings are discussed in terms of previous research and their implications for intervention.

discourse-analytic procedure, conversation-analytic procedures, children, autism spectrum disorder, informal familial interactions, conversation