What is it about?
It is difficult to measure language comprehension abilities in autistic children who have limited expressive language skills. Results from available assessments may underestimate autistic children’s receptive language skills. The primary purpose of this study was to compare alternative modalities and stimuli used to measure receptive vocabulary skills in autistic children who are minimally verbal. This study compared participants’ outcomes on three different receptive vocabulary assessment conditions: an assessment that used a low-tech stimulus book, a touchscreen assessment, and an assessment that used real-object stimuli. Twenty-seven students between the ages of 3 and 12 who had minimal verbal skills and a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder participated in this study. Results showed that participants’ scores in the real-object assessment condition were significantly higher than in the low-tech condition and marginally higher than scores in the touchscreen condition. These results suggest real-object stimuli may provide a more robust measure of autistic children’s receptive vocabulary skills than traditional low-tech picture stimuli. Although many direct standardized assessments use picture stimuli to measure word understanding, when assessing autistic individuals who have limited expressive language, real objects can be used in replacement of, or in addition to, picture stimuli.
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Why is it important?
Although many standardized assessments use low-tech picture stimuli to measure word understanding, when assessing autistic individuals who have limited expressive language, it may be more beneficial to use alternative methods such as real objects and touchscreen devices in replacement of, or in addition to, low-tech picture stimuli.
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This page is a summary of: Alternative receptive language assessment modalities and stimuli for autistic children who are minimally verbal, Autism, January 2022, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/13623613211065225.
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