Research Article  |   August 2010
Measuring Pragmatic Language in Speakers With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Comparing the Children’s Communication Checklist—2 and the Test of Pragmatic Language
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joanne Volden
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Linda Phillips
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Contact author: Joanne Volden, University of Alberta—Speech Pathology and Audiology, 3-10 Corbett Hall, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G4, Canada. E-mail: joanne.volden@ualberta.ca.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Research Article
Research Article   |   August 2010
Measuring Pragmatic Language in Speakers With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Comparing the Children’s Communication Checklist—2 and the Test of Pragmatic Language
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2010, Vol. 19, 204-212. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2010/09-0011)
History: Received February 17, 2009 , Accepted February 20, 2010
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2010, Vol. 19, 204-212. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2010/09-0011)
History: Received February 17, 2009; Accepted February 20, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose: To compare the Children’s Communication Checklist—2 (CCC–2), a parent report instrument, with the Test of Pragmatic Language (TOPL), a test administered to the child, on the ability to identify pragmatic language impairment in speakers with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who had age-appropriate structural language skills.

Method: Sixteen rigorously diagnosed children with ASD were matched to 16 typically developing children on age, nonverbal IQ, and structural language skill. Both groups were given the TOPL, and their parents completed the CCC–2.

Results: The CCC–2 identified 13 of the 16 children with ASD as pragmatically impaired, while the TOPL identified only 9. Neither test identified any of the children in the control group as having pragmatic language impairment.

Conclusions: In these children with ASD, who displayed age-appropriate structural language skills, the CCC–2 identified pragmatic language impairment better than the TOPL. Clinically, this can be useful in documenting the presence of language dysfunction when traditional standardized language assessments would not reveal communication problems.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network National Centre of Excellence Award 27062001. Our profound thanks go to Devin Bruce for his excellent project management skills and his assistance with data collection, entry, and analysis. We also thank school districts in and around Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for allowing us access to participants. Last, but far from least, we thank the families and children who generously gave us their time and effort.
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