Recognition and Language in Low Functioning Autism

  • Jill Boucher
  • Sally Bigham
  • Andrew Mayes
  • Tom Muskett
Original Paper


The hypothesis that a pervasive impairment of declarative memory contributes to language impairment in low functioning autism (LFA) was tested. Participants with LFA, high functioning autism (HFA), intellectual disability (ID) without autism, and typical development (TD) were given two recognition tests and four tests of lexical understanding. It was predicted that recognition would be impaired in the LFA group relative to the HFA and TD groups but not the ID group, and that recognition would correlate with lexical knowledge in the LFA group but none of the other groups. These predictions were supported except that the HFA group performed more similarly to the LFA group than expected, a finding interpreted in terms of selectively impaired episodic memory.


Autism Language Memory 



This research was supported by an award from the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK (Ref. No.: RES-000-22-0989). We are grateful for the assistance of staff and students at the following schools which took part in the project: Alexandra School, South Harrow; Alice Stevens School, Coventry; Bents Green Secondary School, Sheffield; Bridgetown Primary School, Stratford-Upon-Avon; Corley School, Coventry; Exhall Grange, Coventry; Heathermount The learning Centre, Ascot; Hillingdon Manor, Hillingdon; Hunters Bar Primary School, Sheffield; Malmesbury Park Primary School, Bournemouth; Norton Free CE Primary School, Sheffield; The Rowan School, Sheffield; Round Oak School, Leamington Spa; St. Marie’s RC School, Sheffield; Welcombe Hills School, Stratford-Upon-Avon; Whitnash Primary School, Coventry. We are also grateful to those parents who agreed to our seeing their children at home. Finally, we are grateful to Dorit Ben Shalom with whom we had discussions when planning this study, and to two anonymous referees whose comments contributed substantially to the form of this report.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill Boucher
    • 1
  • Sally Bigham
    • 1
    • 4
  • Andrew Mayes
    • 2
  • Tom Muskett
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  2. 2.University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  3. 3.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  4. 4.Thames Valley UniversityLondonUK

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