Autism and written narrative (2006-2009)

Discourse analysis and the characterisation of higher level language disorder phenotypes

Professor Lesley Stirling and Dr Graham Barrington. Research associate: Ms Susan Douglas
ARC Discovery Grant (2006-2009)

This project surveyed written narrative capability in high-functioning autistic children attending mainstream schooling overseen by the Catholic Education Office, Victoria. It benefited from a unique collaboration between the fields of linguistics, cognitive science and community child health. It was innovative in its focus on written narrative and its use of techniques from the study of discourse to analyse narrative structure, marking of perspective, and the representation of mental states of characters. It led to a better understanding of characteristic language behaviours in children with autism, and to improved language and literacy interventions. It had theoretical significance for discourse theory and cognitive science.