Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Prelock, Patricia


Purpose: This study examined the narratives of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing peers across different listeners and communicative context. Method: Four children, between 8-11 years of age, with diagnoses of ASD (Asperger’s syndrome and PDD-NOS) and average or above average non-verbal cognitive ability were language-age matched with similar chronological age, typically developing peers. Participants were asked to generate narratives from a wordless picture book, story-retell of a short film, and a personal experience. Participants told the three types of narratives to peer- and adult listeners in two separate sessions. Narratives were analyzed for story length, causal statements, internal states, character references, irrelevant information, and examiner prompts. Results: No significant group differences were seen on measures of length, internal states, irrelevant information, or prompts. Compared to their typical peers, children with ASD were less likely to include causal statements in their story retell and wordless picture book narratives told to adult listeners and were more likely to use inaccurate or ambiguous references to characters in personal narratives told to an adult listener. The narratives told across various contexts and listeners by children with ASD were similar on measures of length, internal states, causal statements, use of irrelevant information, and prompts. Children with ASD used proportionally more correct character references in their narratives told to adults compared to their narratives told to children. Conclusions: Compared to typically developing children, children with ASD may exhibit differences in their use of causal statements and references within narratives. Based on the measures analyzed, the narratives of children with ASD were more similar than different across types of listeners and communicative contexts. A follow-up study is needed to investigate the between- and within-group differences on measures of episodic structure and syntactic complexity.