Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 53–67 | Cite as

Typical and Atypical Pragmatic Functioning of ASD Children and Their Partners: A Study of Oppositional Episodes in Everyday Interactions

Original Paper


Pragmatic functioning of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children is rarely examined in socially-meaningful contexts. This study investigates the way oppositional episodes are handled in such contexts by 25 families, 10 with ASD and 15 with typically-developing children. Oppositions occur whenever someone protests, refuses or denies someone else’s action, request or statement. The analysis focuses on justifications accounting for the opposition and on their immediate persuasive effect. Analyses of 1,065 oppositional episodes show no differences in justifications among partners and children, except for ASD children with a verbal age 3–4 years, who justify less than their matched controls. The persuasive effect of justifications on children and on partners differs according to their group and verbal age. Implications of the study and future perspectives are discussed.


Autism Pragmatics Oppositions Natural interaction Theory of mind 



This research was supported in part by the France Foundation (Fondation de France). The authors are grateful to the parents, children and siblings of the study, for their kind cooperation, to C. Tardif, for contributing to subjects recruitment, to the Fonds National Suisse pour la Recherche Scientifique for their support in data collection of typically developing children, and to S. Cupello, S. Pingault and A. Romerowski, for their help in the transcription and coding of the data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LPPS (Laboratoire de Psychopathologie et Processus de Santé - EA 4057), Institut de PsychologieParis Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris CitéBoulogne-BillancourtFrance
  2. 2.Laboratory MoDyCo (UMR 7114), CNRS - LPPS (Laboratoire de Psychopathologie et Processus de Santé - EA 4057), Institut de PsychologieParis Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris CitéBoulogne-BillancourtFrance

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