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Figurative language comprehension in individuals with autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analytic review

Kalandadze, T; Norbury, C; Nærland, T; Næss, KAB; (2018) Figurative language comprehension in individuals with autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analytic review. Autism , 22 (2) pp. 99-117. 10.1177/1362361316668652. Green open access

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Abstract

We present a meta-analysis of studies that compare figurative language comprehension in individuals with autism spectrum disorder and in typically developing controls who were matched based on chronological age or/and language ability. A total of 41 studies and 45 independent effect sizes were included based on predetermined inclusion criteria. Group matching strategy, age, types of figurative language, and cross-linguistic differences were examined as predictors that might explain heterogeneity in effect sizes. Overall, individuals with autism spectrum disorder showed poorer comprehension of figurative language than their typically developing peers (Hedges’ g = –0.57). A meta-regression analysis showed that group matching strategy and types of figurative language were significantly related to differences in effect sizes, whereas chronological age and cross-linguistic differences were not. Differences between the autism spectrum disorder and typically developing groups were small and nonsignificant when the groups were matched based on the language ability. Metaphors were more difficult to comprehend for individuals with autism spectrum disorder compared with typically developing controls than were irony and sarcasm. Our findings highlight the critical role of core language skills in figurative language comprehension. Interventions and educational programmes designed to improve social communication skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder may beneficially target core language skills in addition to social skills.

Type: Article
Title: Figurative language comprehension in individuals with autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analytic review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1362361316668652
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362361316668652
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045348
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