Language skills prevent expression

According to research from Carnegie Mellon University, children with autism are able to recognize socially inappropriate behavior, but they have difficulty using spoken language to explain why the behaviors are considered inappropriate.

Elizabeth Carter from the University said the results from previous studies of behavior functions support similar conclusions about the impairment of language in children with autism.

The researchers, during the study, asked children with autism and children with typical development to identify in which of two pictures was outdoors (physical judgment) or which of two pictures a boy was being bad (social judgment).

The children with autism showed activity in fewer brain regions involving social and language networks while performing the task although both groups successfully performed the task.  The children with typical development recruited language areas of the brain while making their decisions even though language was not required for the task.

Their results support the philosophy that children with autism may recognize socially inappropriate behavior, but have difficulty expressing why the behavior is considered wrong, according to the researchers.

“These results indicate that it is important to work with these children on translating their knowledge into language”, said Carter.

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