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Title: Word learning from object, speaker and environmental cues in typically developing children, children with autism spectrum disorder and children with other developmental disorders
Author: Field, Charlotte Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 1602
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explored whether children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) learn the names of artefacts when abstracting information from the objects themselves (Studies One and Two: shape and function bias), a speaker (Study Three: gaze and pointing cues) or the environment (Study Four: arrow and light cues). A final study assessed the relative weighting of conflicting speaker and environmental cues (Study Five). Control groups of typically developing (TD) children and children with other developmental disorders (DD) were also included. In order to tease apart whether word learning is delayed or deviant in ASD and if this extends to DD children, each study recruited participants with a wide range of receptive language abilities. The participants were subdivided into ‘high verbal mental age’ (VMA) and ‘low VMA’ categories. Children with ASD were found to be delayed in some aspects of language acquisition; specifically in showing a shape bias and learning words from eye gaze and pointing. They failed to learn words from one type of associative cue (light), but learnt words from a directional arrow at the same age as their TD peers. Furthermore, they showed a function bias at an earlier age than TD children. Interestingly, the DD cohort also showed substantial word learning deficits. They were delayed learning words from eye gaze and deviant learning words using functional information and some types of social and associative cues. Overall, this research contributes to our understanding of the pathways of language acquisition across typical and atypical development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available