Language environments of autistic and normal children matched for language age: A preliminary investigation

Sharlene Wolchik, Sandra L. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The language patterns of the mothers and fathers of four autistic boys were compared with those of the parents of four normal boys matched for language age with the autistic children. Language patterns were assessed during two 20-minute free-play sessions videotaped in the subjects' homes. The tapes were reliably coded using an 11-category coding system. Only one difference between the language patterns of the parents of the autistic and normal children emerged: The parents of the normal children engaged in a greater proportion of adult-directed language than did the parents of the autistic children. Comparison of the language patterns of mothers and fathers revealed similarities and differences. Both the frequency and percentage of occurrence scores for direct requests for language were significantly greater for mothers than for fathers. However, although the frequency of reinforcement for language did not differ across the sexes, fathers had a greater percentage occurrence score than mothers. There were no other significant differences between the mothers and the fathers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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