Children’s Use of “I Don’t Know” During Clinical Evaluations for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Responses to Emotion Questions

  • Trini Stickle
  • Waverly Duck
  • Douglas W. Maynard
Part of the The Language of Mental Health book series (TLMH)


This study investigated ways children with autism spectrum disorder respond to questions about emotions on the ADOS-II (Autism Diagnostic and Observation Schedule). Specifically, Stickle et al. examined the children’s I don’t know (IDK) utterances as responsive to these questions, questions designed to tap into the children’s capacity for abstract thinking. Findings revealed that the children’s use of IDK was not haphazard but rather revealed four distinct interactional patterns. Stickle et al. also documented clinicians’ formulations of questions that seem to create difficulty for children to respond to and clinicians’ practice that works to encourage the production of valid responses from children. Overall, this research broadens our understanding of the abilities of children given the diagnosis of autism that lies outside of what is officially being tested.


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Recommended Reading

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trini Stickle
    • 1
  • Waverly Duck
    • 2
  • Douglas W. Maynard
    • 3
  1. 1.Western Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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