Conversation Analysis: A Tool for Analysing Interactional Difficulties Faced by Children with Asperger’s Syndrome

  • Johanna Rendle-Short
Part of the The Language of Mental Health book series (TLMH)


In this chapter, Rendle-Short demonstrates how conversation analysis advances our understanding of the interactional difficulties faced by children with diagnoses of Asperger’s syndrome (DSM-IV). The focus is on different contexts in which a child might pause or be silent and how such pauses are responded to. The first context is an intra-turn pause that occurs within a turn-at-talk that is introducing a new topic of conversation. The second context is an inter-turn pause or gap that occurs between turns-at-talk, following a question. The final context builds on the previous two sections by analysing a small video interaction of two children engaged in a spontaneous activity, with the pause occurring after the other child has fallen down because she has hurt herself. It highlights how conversation analysis can be used as a pedagogic tool for teachers, parents, and children. By teaching children the principles of the methodology, they become their own mini-analysts, enabling them to better understand their interactional contributions and how such contributions might be responded to.


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Recommended reading

  1. Rendle-Short, J. (2014). Using conversational structure as an interactional resource: Children with Aspergers Syndrome and their conversational partners. In J. Arciuli & J. Brock (Eds.), Communication in Autism, trends in language acquisition research series (pp. 212–238). Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Rendle-Short
    • 1
  1. 1.The Australian National UniversitySchool of Literature, Languages and LinguisticsCanberraAustralia

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