Perception and production of prosody by speakers with autism spectrum disorders

J Autism Dev Disord. 2005 Apr;35(2):205-20. doi: 10.1007/s10803-004-1999-1.


Speakers with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) show difficulties in suprasegmental aspects of speech production, or prosody, those aspects of speech that accompany words and sentences and create what is commonly called "tone of voice." However, little is known about the perception of prosody, or about the specific aspects of prosodic production that result in the perception of "oddness." The present study examined the perception and production of a range of specific prosodic elements in an experimental protocol involving natural speech among speakers with ASD between 14 and 21 years of age, in comparison with a typical control group. Results revealed ceiling effects limiting interpretation of findings for some aspects of prosody. However, there were significant between-group differences in aspects of stress perception and production. The implications of these findings for understanding prosodic deficits is speakers with autism spectrum disorders, and for future research in this area, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / complications*
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis
  • Language Disorders / etiology*
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Perceptual Disorders / diagnosis
  • Perceptual Disorders / etiology*
  • Phonetics*
  • Speech Discrimination Tests
  • Speech Disorders / diagnosis
  • Speech Disorders / etiology*
  • Speech Perception*
  • Speech Production Measurement