Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability to comprehend indirect pragmatic expressions in children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD) and typically developing children (TD) depending on the presence of facial expressions. Methods: Sixteen HF-ASD children and 16 TD children matched for age and vocabulary ability participated in this study. The experimental task consisted of indirect pragmatic expression tasks with and without facial expressions. Pictures were presented on a computer screen with audio-recorded situational context scripts and the participants were asked to answer two types of questions: intention-understanding and responding. A twoway mixed analysis of variance was conducted to examine differences in the indirect pragmatic expression tasks between the HF-ASD and TD children. The types of error were compared between the two groups. Results: Results showed that HF-ASD group performed significantly poorer than TD group on the indirect pragmatic expression tasks. Both groups did not show significant differences between the performances on indirect pragmatic expression tasks with and without facial expressions. No significant interaction was found between the groups and the presence of facial expressions. Conclusion: This study identifies HF-ASD children's weakness in comprehending indirect pragmatic expressions and suggests that facial expression cues in indirect pragmatic expressions will not improve their situational context comprehension ability. The comprehension of indirect pragmatic expressions needs to be explored through various nonlinguistic factors.
- Facial expression cues
- High functioning autism
- Indirect pragmatic expressions
- Pragmatic language